Wouldn’t it save trouble if you could easily fix your cup after it fell and shattered on the floor?
Researchers have been trying to develop a self-healing material for years now. A substance that can be put back together after it cracks, instead of having to be discarded.
In the past, the healable polymers they’ve worked on have not been easy to use in everyday conditions. But their latest attempt involves a semi-transparent polymer called YUEG3 (video above).
This material maintains its rigidity and even its healing properties. No external heating is required. All that’s needed is to apply force during the healing process. The process depends on hydrogen bonds, the electrostatic “glue” that helps ensure the polymer’s atoms stay together.
In the future, this material will be useful for manufacturing electronics. And, who knows, maybe we’ll be able to mend that broken cup and drink coffee from it too.