A ring that can repel insects. Author: Uni Halle / Fanfan Du

Scientists from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new type of device to repel insects. With the help of a 3D printer, the active ingredient is first “encapsulated” and molded into a desired shape, such as a ring, which can then be worn and releases an agent designed to repel mosquitoes for a long time. The team presented its work in International Pharmaceutical Journal.

The researchers developed their prototypes using “IR3535,” an insect repellent developed by MERCK. “Mosquito sprays containing IR3535 are very gentle on the skin and have been used worldwide for many years. That’s why we use the agent for our experiments,” says Professor René Androsch from MLU. It is usually applied as a spray or lotion and provides several hours of protection. However, Andros and his team are looking at ways to release the agent over a much longer period, such as by encapsulating it in a ring or bracelet.

The researchers used a special 3D printing technique to insert insect repellent in a biodegradable polymer controlled and form a mixture of substances in different ways. “The basic idea is that the insect repellent continuously evaporates and creates a barrier for the insects,” explains lead study author Fangfang Du, a postdoctoral fellow at MLU.

The rate at which the insect repellent evaporates depends on many different factors, including the temperature, concentration, and structure of the polymer used. After conducting various experiments and simulations, the team predicts that the insect repellent will take more than a week to completely evaporate at 37°C (98.6°F, i.e., body temperature).

While the researchers have proven that it is entirely possible to develop a wearable insect repellent, the rings and other forms created for the study are only prototypes. According to Andros, further research is needed to determine how well the rings function in real-world conditions. The encapsulation material can also be further optimized.

For mosquito repellants, stick to the spray

Additional information:
Fanfang Du et al., 3D Printing of Poly(l-Lactic Acid)/Ethyl Butyl Acetylaminopropionate (PLLA/IR3535) Polymer/Insect Repellent System, International Pharmaceutical Journal (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2022.122023

Courtesy of Martin Luther Halle-Wittenberg University

Citation: Scientists Develop New Printable Wearable Insect Repellent (2022, October 11) Retrieved October 11, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-scientists-printable-wearable-insect-repellent. html

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