Self powered bandage speeds healing

December 20, 2018 //By Nick Flaherty
Materials science and engineering professor Xudong Wang fits a new wound dressing around the wrist of graduate student Yin Long. The device stimulates healing using electricity generated from the body’s natural motions. Photo courtesy of UW-Madison, Sam Million-Weaver.
Researchers in the US have developed a self-powered bandage that can speed up healing of wounds.

Weibo Cai, Xudong Wang and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wanted to develop a flexible, self-powered bandage that could convert skin movements into a therapeutic electric field.

To power their electric bandage, or e-bandage, the researchers made a wearable nanogenerator by overlapping sheets of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), copper foil and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The nanogenerator converted skin movements, which occur during normal activity or even breathing, into small electrical pulses. This current flowed to two working electrodes that were placed on either side of the skin wound to produce a weak electric field.

The team tested the device by placing it over wounds on the backs of rats. Wounds covered by e-bandages closed within 3 days, compared with 12 days for a control bandage with no electric field. The researchers attribute the faster wound healing to enhanced fibroblast migration, proliferation and differentiation induced by the electric field.

www.wisc.edu

 


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