Materials technology company Gelest Inc. (Morrisville, PA) introduced today a new class of elastomers that achieves unprecedented elongation and shape-recovery properties. The silica nanoparticle-reinforced material approaches 5000% elongation at break; for example, a two-yard piece of the elastomer can stretch the length of a football field and return to its original shape. Gelest presented the technology this morning during a media webinar coinciding with a paper published in this week's issue of Advanced Materials. Microfluidic products and implantable devices are among the many potential applications.
"When the fabrication of a device is not possible with existing materials, we attempt to develop materials that make the design possible," said Dr. Barry Arkles, Gelest President and Chief Technology Officer, during the webcast to preface the introduction of ExSil 100, the industrial grade of the material, along with a highly refined biocompatible version. Currently available elastomers typically achieve between 100 and 1000% elongation at break, noted Arkles. ExSil's 5000% elongation at break is not an incremental advance, but a revolution in elongation, he added.