Self Healing Materials (Polymer) – They Heal, They Grow

UPCOMING TECHNOLOGY – The concept of self healing materials is not a fresh idea to science and technology. The ‘Self healing capability’ is one great upcoming technology where objects are made capable enough to fully restructure themselves to their original shape and structure with self efforts, when damaged or even broken apart.

It’s amazing to visualize and even witness (in some cases) to what it means and how it can change the way we deal with damaged objects. Some time ago, a video was released on youtube which displays the marvel.us capability of a self-healing vehicle tyre. On a regular set of rubber tyres, a single encounter with a sharp-pointed object can bring your vehicle to a stand still. Very recently, new form of self healing tyres have been successfully built to heal back from almost any puncturing attempt. The following speaks for itself.

The demonstration of an innovative self healing tyre as shared by Creax.com. A sample tyre is tested with multiple puncturing attempts and how it aptly repairs itself within a fraction of seconds to it’s original position.

On a different note, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski and his co-workers at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA) and Kyushu University (Japan) have developed a new polymeric material that can heal and repair itself on multiple attempts when exposed to UV light, as reported by MaterialsViews.

The new polymeric material produced by the American and Japanese team is stable and repairs itself again and again. The secret to their success is that the polymer is cross-linked through trithiocarbonate units. These are carbon atoms bonded to three sulfur atoms, two of which use their second bonding position to attach to another carbon atom. These groups have a special property: they can restructure under UV light. The light breaks one carbon–sulfur bond in the trithiocarbonate groups. This produces two radicals—molecules with a free, unpaired electron. The radicals are very reactive and attack other trithiocarbonate groups to form new carbon–sulfur bonds while breaking others to form more free radicals. The chain reaction stops when two radicals react with each other.

In simpler words, this newly developed polymer can be easily repaired from damages like cuts and shreds by firmly pressing the affected areas together followed by the irradiation process. I say, this is great beginning for an awesome and technologically enriched future. Imagine the level of convenience, cost and price reductions the self healing products may offer the consumers as well as the manufacturers!