The past 17 years have brought about tremendous change in the world of science and technology. Of course no one is surprised that digital technology has surged in the new millennium. Nor would it be surprising to learn that medicine continues to improve, greatly improving the quality of life for millions. But what has chemistry done recently? You’re very likely already familiar with some of the major chemical advancements of the decade. Here are some other amazing ways that chemistry is advancing product innovation.
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Helping the Paralyzed to Walk
At Rice University, researchers are utilizing chemistry to help develop a means by which paralyzed bodies can walk again. The process involves specialized graphene nanoribbons and along with polyetheylene glycol, which is a polymer gel common in medical surgeries. Once the graphene nanoribbons are treated in the process with the polymer, they form a small electric network which aids in reconnecting the severed spinal cord. Currently, they have only tested the process on rats, but results are encouraging. You can read more about their results in the Surgical Neurology Journal.
Improving the Contact Lens
Your grandparents may remember a time when contact lenses were hard, uncomfortable, and only wearable for a few hours. Throughout the years, chemistry aided the development of the lens. Changing the design from glass to a flexible acrylic polymer allowed for more user comfort without sacrificing efficiency. More recently, chemical advancements developed the hydrogel contact lenses, which are the same flexible and comfortable polymer that also allows oxygen into the eye.
A Plane Powered by Solar Energy
In 2003, Bertrand Piccard teamed up with Belgian chemical corporation Solvay to begin a radical project. He proposed the idea of a plane which could take flight without traditional fuel. Instead, the plane would power itself entirely through solar energy. The project came to be known as the Solar Impulse. The innovations birthed from its design and creation may help traditional model planes as well. Members of the project have developed a number of lightweight polymer airplane parts, in order to better facilitate the solar energy. Much like how NASA’s space race gave us new everyday technologies, the fruits of this project may continue to improve the way humans approach flight.
A Gel to Instantly Seal Major Wounds
It sounds like something straight out of an old space opera, but the researchers at Cresilon Inc. (formerly Suneris) developed a gel to quickly stop bleeding on major cuts and lacerations. Although the hemostatic gel, called VETIGEL, has currently only seen some use in veterinary hospitals, its potential for military applications are clear. The gel could immediately patch up soldiers with major bullet or shrapnel wounds. It could buy the soldier enough time to be medically evacuated and treated and decrease the overall casualty rate.
ToxPlanet celebrates these chemical advancements. We make it our goal to aid researchers and toxicologists in whatever project they face. One of the ways we do that is offering a comprehensive and efficient chemical database. If you want to try out ToxPlanet’s database for yourself, visit our website to request a free 15 day trial.