Water-safe casts

Orthopaedic casts that hold broken limbs in place while they heal can be uncomfortable to wear, especially if they get wet. If the padding material within a normal cast absorbs water, it cannot be easily dried. Casts that don't absorb water, on the other hand, can feel clammy when the limb inside gets hot.

US technology company 3M is patenting an alternative. Its material consists of a hydrophilic inner layer that attracts water and a hydrophobic - although not impermeable - outer shell that repels it. The resulting material dries out quickly and feels comfortable even when wet, allowing the wearer to participate in activities such as bathing and even swimming.

So it doesn't matter whether the cast gets a good soaking on the outside or inside - it soon dries out while retaining its strength and comfort, 3M claim.

Source: newscientisttech.comAdded: 14 May 2007