‘Off the Charts’ Hydrogel Outperforms Cartilage and May Be in Human Knees Next Year:
The new material pictured here is a natural knee cartilage replicant that may be available as soon as early 2023. Courtesy of Benjamin Wiley, Duke University.
A long-awaited update to a 2020 medical breakthrough could have a natural knee cartilage replicant on deck for replacement surgeries by 2023. For those who want to avoid replacing the entire knee joint, there may soon be another option that could help patients get back on their feet fast, pain-free, and stay that way. GNN reported in 2020 on Duke University’s development of a water-based gel designed to replace worn-out cartilage in knee joints based on the principles of biodesign found in our given cartilage. To make this material, the Duke team took thin sheets of cellulose fibers and infused them with a polymer called polyvinyl alcohol, a viscous goo consisting of stringy chains of repeating molecules, to form a gel. The new material can bear 100 pounds of weight without tearing or losing shape and the polymer chains within allow it to be flexible and have the ability to return to its original state when stretched. In a more recent study to improve the material, the crystal content within it was increased with the application of heat during the creation process. In these trials, the researchers were able to increase the material’s capacity for stress by double for squeezing force and five times larger for pulling forces.
Durable coating kills COVID virus, other germs in minutes:
The image remains clear even through a thick layer of the new antimicrobial coating. Credit: Anish Tuteja, University of Michigan
The University of Michigan engineers and immunologists have created a new durable coating that can kill Covid-19 in minutes and for many months after application. This coating was able to kill 99.9% of the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), E. coli, MRSA and a variety of other pathogens even after regardless of general maintenance and wear and tear on surfaces. The coating, which is clear and can be brushed or sprayed on, gets its durability and germ-killing power by combining tried-and-true ingredients in a new way. It uses antimicrobial molecules derived from tea tree oil and cinnamon oil, both used for centuries as safe and effective germ killers that work in under two minutes. The coating's durability comes from polyurethane, a tough, varnish-like sealer that's commonly used on surfaces like floors and furniture. The material will most likely be commercially available within a year through Hygratek which has licensed the coating.
NASA’s Artemis I mission sets the stage for our return to the moon:
NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft get ready for launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
When Artemis I blast off into the early morning sky over Florida, it may launch a new era of lunar science and exploration with it. The NASA mission, scheduled to launch in the next two weeks, is the first of three planned flights aimed at landing humans on the moon for the first time since 1972. While this mission does not include humans, it will test new technologies to see if the new rocket and tech will allow a safe mission for astronauts to land on the moon and return. The new suits, called Orion suits, in particular, have manufactured models of astronauts in them to see how a human would fare inside the ship and how the suit works in real-time. Other faux torsos meant to represent female bodies on board will also be measured to see the trip’s unique effects on women. Furthermore, plushies of Snoopy and Shaun the Sheep will be testing the effects of gravity on the ship. Artemis I is slated to lift off on August 29 at 8:33 a.m. EDT. The SLS rocket will lift Orion into space, where the crew capsule will separate from the rocket and continue to orbit around the moon. After circling the moon for about two weeks, Orion will slingshot back to Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. The whole mission will last about 42 days.