First reported self-healing polymer that spontaneously and independently repairs itself

Sep 13, 2013
A cylindrical sample of the elastomer mends itself after being cut in two by a razor blade and can be manually stretched without rupture.

Scientists in Spain have reported the first self-healing polymer that spontaneously and independently repairs itself without any intervention. The new material could be used to improve the security and lifetime of plastic parts in everyday products such as electrical components, cars and even houses.

The researchers have dubbed the material a 'Terminator' polymer in tribute to the shape-shifting, molten T-100 terminator robot from the Terminator 2 film.

The research is published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Materials Horizons.

Self-healing polymers that can spontaneously achieve quantitative healing in the absence of a catalyst have never been reported, until now. The scientists prepared the self-healing thermoset from common polymeric starting materials using a simple and inexpensive approach.

A video shows that the permanently cross-linked poly(urea-urethane) elastomeric network completely mends itself after being cut in two with a razor blade. A metathesis reaction of aromatic disulphides, which naturally exchange at room temperature, causes the regeneration.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Scientists report the first self-healing thermoset elastomer that requires no intervention to induce its repair. Taken from the following paper: A Rekondo et al, Mater. Horiz., 2014.

The polymer behaves as a Velcro-like sealant or adhesive, displaying an impressive 97 per cent healing efficiency in just two hours. The researchers show that after cutting the material into two separate pieces with a razor blade and allowing it to self-heal, the material is unbreakable when stretched manually.

The authors said: "The fact that poly(urea-urethane)s with similar and mechanical properties are already used in a wide range of commercial products makes this system very attractive for a fast and easy implementation in real industrial applications."

Explore further: Human scabs serve as inspiration for new bandage to speed healing

More information: pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/mh/c3mh00061c

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User comments : 5

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Szkeptik
not rated yet Sep 13, 2013
Nice. Also that's a T-1000, not a T-100. Swarzenegger is a T-101.
Anda
not rated yet Sep 13, 2013
Nice. Also that's a Schwarzenegger, not a Swarzenegger
CavemanWill
not rated yet Sep 13, 2013
Nice. Also that's a...oh wait that was all right.
sirchick
not rated yet Sep 13, 2013
Nice. Also that's a...oh wait that was all right.


Actually, he forgot a full stop. ;)
cuki_gamulea
not rated yet Sep 20, 2013
Actually, she forgot a full stop. ;)

And the article's author forgot to name those scientists.

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