Polymer, Heal Thy Self

  • Author: David Bradley
  • Published: 14 April 2012
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Nature Chemistry/Nature Publishing Group
thumbnail image: Polymer, Heal Thy Self

Polymers that can repair themselves following mechanical damage could improve the safety, lifetime, energy efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact of many products.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, USA, have designed autonomic self-healing thermoplastic elastomers that require no external input to undergo spontaneous self-healing. Just as importantly, the elastomers are stiff, something that has not been achieved in this field previously.

The multiphase supramolecular assemblies fix themselves after being damaged without the need for an additional healing agent, plasticizer or solvent, the team says.

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