A new self-repairing material has been developed by the UK researchers and they say it’ll be ready to integrate into everything from smartphone screens to nail varnish within the next five years.
The self-healing technology was originally developed for aircraft wings that could be used in smartphones to enable them to repair by themselves if the screen gets cracked.
Indeed, the technology has the potential to revolutionize a range of industries with the capacity to move into tiny cracks and harden inside like the way blood forms a dry, protective scab to heal flesh wounds.
Made from a mixture of different carbon-based chemicals, this new healing agent produces a sheet of millions of microscopic spheres. When a crack breaks these hollow microspheres apart, a liquid is released that moves into the newly formed gap. A chemical reaction then causes the polymerisation – or hardening – of this liquid, causing it to glue to the edges of the cracks and form a hard, near-invisible filler.
The technology has been developed last month by a team from England’s University of Bristol, led by chemist Duncan Wass, and was presented at a Royal Society meeting in London.
We took inspiration from the human body. We’ve not evolved to withstand any damage – if we were like that we’d have a skin as thick as a rhinoceros – but if we do get damaged, we bleed, and it scabs and heals. We just put that same sort of function into a synthetic material: let’s have something that can heal itself,” according to Wass.
Not only that, the innovation could be used to repair numerous other objects such as car windshields, paint and bikes helmets while L’Oreal is already in talks to use a variation of the technology to produce self-healing nail varnish. Which sounds pretty cool!
There could be self-healing car paint, bicycle frames and wind turbines that don’t crack, and car windshields that could repair themselves after an encounter with an airborne pebble.
Geez man, we need this!