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Self-cleaning skin-like prosthetic polymer surfaces

United States Patent

March 27, 2012
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Visit the Partnerships Directorate Website
An external covering and method of making an external covering for hiding the internal endoskeleton of a mechanical (e.g., prosthetic) device that exhibits skin-like qualities is provided. The external covering generally comprises an internal bulk layer in contact with the endoskeleton of the prosthetic device and an external skin layer disposed about the internal bulk layer. The external skin layer is comprised of a polymer composite with carbon nanotubes embedded therein. The outer surface of the skin layer has multiple cone-shaped projections that provide the external skin layer with superhydrophobicity. The carbon nanotubes are preferably vertically aligned between the inner surface and outer surface of the external skin layer in order to provide the skin layer with the ability to transmit heat. Superhydrophobic powders may optionally be used as part of the polymer composite or applied as a coating to the surface of the skin layer to enhance superhydrophobicity.
Simpson; John T. (Clinton, TN), Ivanov; Ilia N. (Knoxville, TN), Shibata; Jason (Manhattan Beach, CA)
UT-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge, TN)
12/ 495,082
June 30, 2009
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to contract no. DE-AC05-00OR22725 between the United States Department of Energy and UT-Battelle, LLC.