Life On Earth
New Type of Plastic Can Regenerate Like Human Skin
Imagine dropping you cellphone and cracking its screen. Far from a pleasant feeling. Now imagine that instead of having to have it repaired or get a replacement, all you have to do is leave it alone overnight and let it heal up. This kind of material will be very common at some point in the future, but none of the prototypes have been truly successful until now.Those have included materials that have small embedded capsules breaking open when damaged and ones that would regrow chemical bonds with the presence of heat or light.
University of South Mississippi's Marek Urban has presented a paper on his new co-polymer to the American Chemical Society on Monday. According to the paper, the plastic bleeds red liquid to mark the damage and then heals up. This is achieved through altering water-based copolymers in a way that would make them change color when the molecular link is broken. In this case, the color is red, which is quite fitting since one possible application would be to mark structural flaws in things like vehicles.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Department of Defense paid for a huge chunk of the research. It should be very exciting to see what kind of use DARPA puts this material to.
By: Denis Ivanov
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