New bandage material repels blood while also clotting it
There's a problem with most bandages – because they adhere to the wound as it heals, they may reopen it when removed. A new wound dressing, however, doesn't stick to wounds, yet it does help stop the bleeding.
The material was created more or less by accident.
Scientists from Switzerland's ETH Zurich research institute and the National University of Singapore were developing superhydrophobic (liquid-repellent) coatings for medical equipment such as catheters, that would keep blood or other fluids from sticking to them. Unexpectedly, one of the substances they developed also proved to aid in the clotting of blood.
The coating in question consists of silicone and carbon nanofibers, and it's applied to regular cotton gauze in order to create the bandage material. That material repels blood, yet also causes blood to clot within only a few minutes of contact. The clotting mechanism still isn't entirely understood, although the scientists suspect that the carbon nanofibers are involved.
As an added bonus, the material has an antibacterial effect, as bacteria have difficulty adhering to its surface.
While some of the prototype bandages have already been successfully tested on rats, the researchers state that the technology needs to be developed further before it can be tried out on humans. Eventually, though, it could make quite a difference in the field of healthcare.
"With the new superhydrophobic material, we can avoid reopening the wound when changing the bandage," says ETH postdoctoral researcher Athanasios Milionis. "Reopening wounds is a major problem, primarily because of the risk of infection, including from dangerous hospital germs – a risk that is especially high when changing bandages."
A paper on the study, which is being led by ETH's Prof. Dimos Poulikakos, was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.
Source: ETH Zurich