Introduction: Make Your Own Chitosan Bandages

About: I am a Biomedical Engineer going to be an ICU doctor. I love DIY and conversing ideas with intellectual people. I am a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian (its not a cult for those who are wondering) I love ani…

Why Make Some?
These specialty bandages are super easy to apply, easy to use, and could possibly save your life.  If this technology was around in the civil war it would have saved nearly 460,000 soldiers.  These are extreme days we live in and the next disaster could strike any time.  These bandages can replace suchers if a hospital is not around.  Hemophiliacs can use these bandages to easily stop external bleeds.

How It Works: 
Chitosan Is a positively charged polysaccharide that attracts blood cells which are negatively charged. This attraction causes an extreme adherence when in contact with blood.  The red blood cells form a very tight coherent seal over the wound as they are drawn into the bandage. 

If you suffer from hemophilia you can use these bandages to stop bleeding quickly.  
These bandages can be useful in many situations such as: hiking, biking, construction worksite, over seas missionary work, or any other dangerous activity.  

I am not responsible to any damage you may cause yourself or any other when use of any item in this instructable. Chitosan is a bio product from shell fish and I am not responsible if you have an allergic reaction to the substance. You must be 18 or older (or under adult supervision) to complete this instructable successfully

Step 1: Supplies

For this Instructable you will need:
Gauze pads (your choice in size)
Vinegar 4% acidity (its usually the cheaper stuff)
Small Containers such as Rubbermaid
Chitosan Tablets
Dry ice (3-5 lbs depending on amount of bandages)
Small Cooler or Medium Plastic Container
Food Plastic Wrap

You can get the Chitosan Tablets at a low price here:
I like this brand because it is in a gelatin capsule which makes for easy removal of the powder.
These tablets also contain chromium which is another benefit to the bandage

Cookie Cooling Rack or Chicken Fencing
Cooking Sheet
Latex Gloves
Dust Mask
Heavy leather Work Gloves
Deep Freezer
Needle Nose Pliers or Surgical Forceps
Drill or Sharp Knife

Step 2: Chitosan Extraction

Make sure your workbench has been sterilized
Spray your bench with a cleaning solution
Although the chitosan bandages actually kill bacteria, you don't want to contaminate them prior to use.
Put on a pair of latex gloves and your dust mask.

Why? Because particles from the chitosan capsules can filter into your nasal cavity and cause you to have increased sinus pressure.

To easily remove the chitosan powder:

Grasp the pill gently with both hands.
Give a quarter twist to the small end cap
Gently pull apart the capsule 
Empty the contents into your storage container.

I disassembled and stored 34 Tablets which covers around 15-20 1 inch square gauze pads.  You may want to do more or less depending on your need.

Step 3: Coating

Pour your vinegar into a small container. 
Place your choice of gauze pads in the vinegar. The pads will sink to the bottom when they are fully soaked.
With your pliers or surgical forceps grasp a single gauze pad and place it into your chitosan powder.
Gently shake the chitosan container side to side to fully cover the bandage.  Now let the bandage soak in the chitosan for 30 seconds

Double Dip (Its OK This Time.. Honestly)
Repeat this process 1 more time by dipping the powdered gauze into the vinegar and then back into the chitosan powder. A quick dip in the chitosan is all that is necessary for the second dip.

After you have completed coating the pad, place it on your cookie cooling tray or sterilized chicken mesh.  Have a baking sheet or tray below to catch any excess powder or vinegar droppings. 

You should notice that the bandage will swell after coating.  This is normal so don't run out of your house like a mad man/woman

Step 4: Freezing

Prior to sublimation you must freeze the bandages.
Place the cooling tray and baking sheet on the top rack of your deep freezer near the cooling element.
If you have a deep freezer that lays on the ground make a space near the cooling element and close to the bottom for the quickest freezing time.
If you don't have a deep freezer you can use a regular refrigerator freezer, but it will take more time to freeze.

The bandages will freeze after ~1.5 days
During this waiting period enjoy a soda or somthing
When they are finished freezing the bandages will be able to hold a firm shape.

Step 5: Lyophilization (Freeze Drying)

You can purchase dry ice at grocery and convenience stores. You will want around 3-5 lb.  For this you will have to do a little research yourself to find the best place to get dry ice.

Always wear heavy gloves when working with Dry Ice.  Dry ice is ~(-100)F

Crush dry ice into a medium sized  plastic container. 
Drill holes at the highest point of the lid to allow oxygen and water vapor to escape
Now its time to sublimate the bandages.
Place your chitosan bandages on top of the dry ice.  
You may notice a small fog coming from the bandages. This is normal
NOTE: Do not pour water into any of the dry ice filled containers. You will disrupt the speed of lyophilization. (if not ruin the process)

Wait... Again
To fully lyophilize the bandages the dry ice will have to fully dissolve.  
This process takes ~1 day for 3lbs

How Does It Work.. What Is It Doing In There?
The CO2 from the dry ice acts like a pump to remove all water from the air surrounding the material.  If the water vapor decreases the bandage becomes dry while maintaining its chitosan constitution.  So, as long as any dry ice remains, it will continue to freeze the water out and the bandage will become lyophilized. 

The bandages are done when the dry ice has dissolved. The bandages will be mildly malleable

When Lyophilization Is Complete 
After all the dry ice has evaporated you will be able to collect your bandages for sterile packaging. Remember to wear latex gloves for the removal of the bandages.
The chitosan bandages will naturally kill bacteria but try to keep them sterile. 

Step 6: Completion and Packaging

 The bandages will be dry to the touch and malleable when complete.  

To package you can use practically any method.  The perimeters are that the bandages must be kept in a moisture/air free environment. This method is a makeshift saran wrap version. 

Simply roll out ~1 foot of food wrap and place your bandage near but not on the corner. Fold as shown in the pictures. Press firmly to release all air  every time a fold is made.

Your done!

Step 7: Directions for Use

 Never use these bandages against someone"s will.  Simply place the bandage onto the bleeding wound and watch it work.  It should clot within minutes.  

To remove the bandage simply pour water in and around the bandage.  The water will break the bond and release the bandage.  It will not hurt the patient or victim to apply the bandage but it WILL hurt if you yank the bandage off without applying water.

PM me if you have any questions! Thanks!