“Material, heal thyself.” That could be the mantra from scientists if a recently crafted polymer sees the light of day on a mass scale.
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have come up with a material that can repair cracks in its surface all by itself. And, it can do this again and again.
That repetition factor is the big news here. We’ve had self-healing materials before, but they’ve been mostly a one-off proposition. The new material can apply the regenerative properties found in human skin to its own molecular makeup, healing rifts, cracks and other “imperfections” all on its own. Just like human skin, the multi-layer material floods any cut in the outer layer with nutrients and a liquid heating substance from the inner layer.
Tests in the UIUC lab have resulted in healing in as little as 10 hours. That might sound like a long time, but it’s really not all that long if you consider what kind of molecular regeneration is really taking place.
The scientists aim to use this kind of regeneration across many fields of study and business, in things such as microchips, prosthetics, and even aircraft parts.