We’ve all gotten injured at one point or another and applying a heat compress is usually the best course of action and what doctors will likely recommend you do. Now an ingenious way of creating therapeutic heat for applying to injuries in a light, flexible design has been developed by Korean scientists from the Center for Nanoparticle Research, Institute for Basic Science (IBS).
The team at IBS moved away from materials like carbon nanotube and gold, instead they used thin slivers of silver nanowires. Silver nanowires are miniscule, averaging around 150 mm in diameter and 30 mm in length. The nanowires were blended into a liquid elastic material which is both soft and stetchy when dry. To make sure the material stays tight on the affected area, the team designed a 2-D interlocking coil pattern for the mesh structure.
The mesh is lightweight, breathable and generates heat over the entire surface area of the material. The mesh maintains a constant temperature instead of cooling down like a hot water bottle and is battery powered so it doesn’t need an outlet to be plugged into.
The team thinks this mesh should be comparatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture. Other than using it for sore muscles and joints, it has a potential use in applications such as ski jackets or heated car seats.