Self-healing poly(urea-urethane) elastomer
Self-healing plastics automatically restore themselves when damaged. These materials conventionally mend broken bonds with the aid of an external stimulus, such as light, heat, or changing pH level. Scientists at Spain’s IK4-CIDETEC research center have created a material capable of spontaneous quantitative healing without an external stimulus or catalyst—something previously considered impossible. The trick is the use of aromatic disulfides that undergo a chemical reaction in which they exchange bonds at room temperature, otherwise known as a metathesis reaction. As a result, the self-healing elastomer can not only repair small cracks but also mend itself after being cut entirely in half. This is the first self-healing material technology with this extraordinary and advantageous capacity.
Contact: IK4-CIDETEC Research Center, San Sebastián, Spain.
For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future