Marie Donlon | June 28, 2022

A team of researchers from the University of Maryland have developed a gel for protecting fragile objects.

The combination of gelatin and cornstarch granules reportedly created a gel that shields against strong impacts, outperforming gels composed entirely of gelatin alone.

Source: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2022). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c01261Source: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2022). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c01261

To make this determination, researchers developed films of both the gelatin and cornstarch mixture and films composed entirely of gelatin. The team enveloped fragile objects like eggs and blueberries in both films and determined that the gelatin and cornstarch mixture reduced the force of impact on these fragile objects by up to 15% versus the films composed of gelatin when the objects were dropped on a table.

According to the researchers, the ideal mixture of gelatin and cornstarch for protecting the eggs and blueberries from damage was a composition of 10% gelatin and 10% to 20% starch.

The research team is eyeing the cornstarch infused gelatin for applications such as food packaging, sports equipment, safety helmets and defense materials.

The material is detailed in the article, How a Gel Can Protect an Egg: A Flexible Hydrogel with Embedded Starch Particles Shields Fragile Objects Against Impact, which appears in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

For more information on the material, watch the accompanying video that appears courtesy of the University of Maryland.