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UVa Physics Professor Invents New Innovative Material

By: Suzanne Wilson Email
By: Suzanne Wilson Email

February 13, 2013

Dr. Lou Bloomfield is a physics professor at UVa, as well as an inventor. He has invented Viscoelastic Silicone Rubber, which he is now calling Vistik. It looks a lot like silly putty, it bounces like a ball, and it can shape, form, and pad almost anything, making it a product perfect for everyday life.

Bloomfield described it as, "It's great as adaptive padding. It also has this crazy property that loves to stick to itself so, it makes an usual adhesive."

"I started this whole project by trying to stop restaurant tables from teetering back and forth when you bump them," said Bloomfield, "Four legs is one too many."

His multi-use 'flubbery' glue is being used by Richmond-based MeadWestvaco. The packaging giant is exploring ways to use Vistik as a packaging tape. But, the uses extend far beyond boxes. Vistik is now in testing labs and is getting feedback.

Bloomfield said, "That process is in process and it's very exciting and it's very slow but we'll get there, eventually."

"Can you change the color? Can you make sure that it's completely and utterly non-toxic," said Bloomfield. "My dream really is to have it in every shoe. Just imagine how comfortable it would be to have a shoe insole that just adapts to your foot over the first ten seconds you wear the shoe and then, supports you uniformly, perfectly."

The material is so exact and it will form to your body. If you press your finger into it, it will remember the print just like a stamp pad.

Bloomfield doesn't just see Vistik as a luxury item, but it's also a product that can truly help.

Bloomfield said, "I also want to see it in prosthetics. For example, people, amputees. Putting my material in there should allow that contact point to adapt and fit perfectly so the pressure is relieved at any bad spot."

There is no time from for when any of these projects will actually be in the market, but like Bloomfield described earlier, the project is underway.

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