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No More Youch! Easy peel tape spares sensitive skin

Posting in Design

Forget “just like ripping off a Band-Aid.” Scientists have designed a new adhesive that comes off so quickly, even a newborn’s sensitive skin won’t be irritated. MIT News reports.

Newborns lack an epidermis -- the tough outermost layer of skin -- so medical tape used to secure respirators or monitoring devices for preemies can actually take the skin right off, causing scarring. Tape can also cause skin injuries for elderly people with have fragile skin.

Since the new quick-release medical tape is produced with materials already used, it should be a straightforward process to adapt and scale up current adhesive-manufacturing systems.

  1. Most tape have an adhesive side and a non-sticky, polymer backing that gives its strength and resistance. This one also has a quick-release third layer sandwiched in between.
  2. The researchers coated the side that contacts the adhesive with a thin layer of silicone, forming a ‘release liner’ (like the slick strips of paper that you have to peel from a Band-Aid before using it).
  3. They etched grid lines into the silicone with a laser, exposing some of the polymer backing so it sticks to the adhesive layer more strongly.

“All of the processes are already in place: to place the adhesive layer, to place release liners onto surfaces, and to assemble the adhesive,” says MIT’s Jeffrey Karp. “We really see this as a solution that can be rapidly translated to the clinic, to immediately reduce complications from adhesives in neonates.” The researchers have filed for a patent and are working to secure regulatory approval for tests on humans.

The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

[Via MIT News]

Image: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

— By on October 31, 2012, 5:40 PM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure