Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Manufacturing Technology

Gel that is Stronger Than Steel

Soft and tough composite material

By conjugating glass fiber and self-healing gel, we have achieved a gel that is stronger than carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Since the base material is a gel, it is as flexible as rubber against bending, but tougher than CFRP against tearing, making it difficult to break.

Content of research

The glass fiber composite gel we have developed exhibits unbreakable, untearable and tear-resistant properties. Generally speaking, CFRP and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) are widely used as composite materials. Similar to these fiber-reinforced plastics, fiber-reinforced gels are hard and resistant to tension because of the characteristics of the fibers, while being soft and flexible on bending because of the characteristics of the gel. The self-healing polyampholyte (PA) gel used as the base material is also strong as such thanks to its ability to dissipate a large amount of energy against deformation. Since the gel is flexible, when it is combined with fiber, local distortions can be transmitted through the fiber to the distant base material, resulting in large energy dissipation of the entire material, meaning that it is remarkably strong.

  • Glass fabric composite PA gel is tougher and softer than metals, CFRP and ceramics.

Potential for social implementation

  • ・Artificial ligaments and tendons
  • ・Soft robot structural components
  • ・Impact resistant materials

Appealing points to industry and local governments

If there are companies that can propose new applications, we would like to conduct joint research to demonstrate and commercialize their ideas.

Intellectual property related to this research

(日本:特願2017-509793 米国:15/504965 欧州:14900111.7