Soft splint instantly heat-welds to hold broken limbs

日期:2019-03-01 08:07:01 作者:糜眭短 阅读:

By Tom Simonite (Image: Paul Chamberlain) A portable plastic splint that heat-welds itself around broken limbs is being developed to aid skiers and others who take part in extreme sports. To apply the splint, strips of tough but flexible plastic bandage are wrapped tightly around a broken limb and attached to one another using Velcro. Once the strips have been applied, a solution of sodium citrate gel is poured onto the splint. This triggers a chemical reaction with metal strips embedded in the bandage, which the makes the solution rapidly crystallise to form a solid. The same process generates heat, providing warmth to the injured limb. “This is the same reaction that is used in hand warmers,” explains Paul Chamberlain, an industrial designer at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. “It sets hard in around 5 minutes and heat-welds the plastic bandages together.” The splint was designed by two of Chamberlain’s students, Ching-Sui Kao and Geremi Durand, and Maxime Ducloux from the Institut Superieur de Plasturgie d’Alencon (ISPA) in Alencon, France. Prototypes are currently in production at ISPA. The splint is primarily targeted at those who take part in snow sports, Chamberlain told New Scientist. Around 450,000 people are injured each year, he says, most of whom suffer broken bones. “Rescuers can usually reach these people, but providing warmth and support quickly is important, particularly if there is a long wait,” he says. The splint can be easily carried by skiers or snowboarders in a rucksack and, in the event of an accident, as many strips as needed can be used to cover and protect an injury. After rescue, the splint can be cut away by doctors. Earlier in March, the splint won the Grand Prize at the Design and Innovation in Plasturgy competition,