Mechanically adaptive needle

Adaptive material that is initially very stiff and then softens when it comes in contact with the human body.

One important technological platform that is being developed at AMI comprises polymeric materials that can adapt their mechanical properties as a reaction to an external stimulus. Such materials have a great potential in medical applications, where the compatibility between materials and the human body should be enhanced. As part of a project with a German medical device producer, AMI researchers were working on the development of materials for novel introducers for venous access. A material with a very high stiffness is required in order to penetrate the skin and get to the blood vessels. However, for stationary venous access, softer materials would be preferable, as they would be much less traumatic for the sensitive vascular walls. Today, most materials used are either a compromise between the two extreme properties or comprise complicated multicomponent systems with different materials for different functions. An adaptive material that is initially very stiff and can then soften when it comes in contact with the human body, would be ideally suited to improve the quality of life of patients with chronic or critical conditions and also simplify the work procedures for nurses. AMI researchers and students are continuing to developp such materials and have already succeeded in first proof-of-concept for a promising class of composite materials.