Self-healing plastic hints at durable future gadgets

The modern world boasts several self-healing substances, ranging from the LG G Flex's scratch-healing casing to Stanford's synthetic self-healing skin. Latest among them is a plastic developed by the University of Illinois that regenerates when damaged.

The difference between this plastic and scratch-healing gadgets presently available is the amount of damage that can be tolerated. The newly-developed self-healing plastic can take rather extensive damage and heal it through a process of regeneration, filling the cracks or breaks with regrown plastic.

Said the university's Professor Sottos, "Vascular delivery lets us deliver a large volume of healing agents – which, in turn, enables restoration of large damage zones. The vascular approach also enables multiple restorations if the material is damaged more than once."

The future prospects of such a material are exciting. Smartphones, for example, would be able to heal actual cracks in the casing, rather than micro-filling small scuffs and scratches that result from a pocket full of keys. On a grander scale, the material could be used in aerospace applications where a crack or break could prove difficult to repair or deadly.

SOURCE: University of Illinois