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NASA Invents ‘Electric Gauze’ That Can Speed Up Wound Healing

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NASA has developed a new technology based on a substance that can generate electricity, which can significantly facilitate healing and more.

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Injuries in space, or on the surface of a planet or asteroid, could be life-threatening. In conditions of non-Earth gravity, human blood displays behavior quite different from that on Earth. In particular, wounds are likely to heal much more slowly, and, considering the survival risks and the cost of space missions, healing wounds as fast as possible is crucial.

One method to facilitate wound healing is a new electric gauze recently announced by NASA. The thin material displays some mind-blowing properties, by generating a small amount of electricity when interacting with another surface, including human skin.

The material, called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) has numerous possible applications, including wound healing.

It is proven that wounds tend to heal much more quickly if small amounts of electricity are applied to the surrounding tissue. But the gauze pattern is also essential to the healing process.

According to Emilie Siochi, a senior materials scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center, if the PVDF fibers are aligned correctly, cells on a wound use it as a scaffold, helping the wound to heal faster. The easiest way to align the fibers is to make gauze, which also creates an additional layer of protection against infection.

According to a NASA statement, the agency is in possession of a "simple and inexpensive means of producing fibers and mats of controlled fiber diameter, porosity, and thickness."

Cutting-edge technologies developed for aerospace typically end up, over time, as elements in consumer products. We can't wait for this one.

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