Crack your smartphone? Researchers may soon have a "self-repair" at the ready thanks to a special polymer that's undergoing research.
I’m not familiar with X-Men but apparently the Wolverine character has a self-healing super power, and one bold researcher has used this as a muse to develop a self-healing polymeric material.
Chao Wang PhD and his research team took a different approach with their self-healing material, which conducts electricity, according to Futurism.com. While non-covalent bonds are more dynamic than covalent bonds, they are weaker and less able to conduct electricity. The team settled on an ion-dipole interaction never used before in self-healing polymer research and it turns out, it’s an approach well-suited as an ionic conductor, the article said.
The resulting material is conductive and extremely flexible, able to stretch up to 50 times its starting size and can put itself back together again within the space of a day after being ripped in half. Even better, the material was found to be conductive enough that it can be used with electronics and artificial muscles. Now the team is moving forward to tweak the covalent bond properties so they are ready for real-world applications—the big one, patching up that costly smartphone if it gets dropped on the ground.
As a clumsy cell phone user who has all-to-often been there, done that, I’m happily awaiting the polymer with self-healing super powers.