Self-healing rubber could mean future without flat tires

Rubber is everywhere. Narrow your focus to just your car — it's everywhere in there, too. In addition to being the primary material in your tires, it is also found all over the place as dampeners, shock absorbers, and seals, among other things. The problem with rubber is that will break down and tear in due time. A torn rubber seal will require repairing. Running over a nail means a flat tire. These issues may be nearly non-existent in the future.

A team of scientists in Germany have come up with a self-healing rubber, which will heal itself after being cut or punctured. If you get a flat tire, for example, give it a little while to heal over and then add more air and you'll be good to go. Torn rubber boot on your brakes? That'll fix while you're in buying groceries. Etcetera.

You can see the rubber heal itself in the video above, and if you're particularly interested, you can read the full report on what went into this here.

To put it simply, sulfur vulcanization — the invention of Charles Goodyear — is how modern car tire rubber is made. The researchers improved upon this with a "simple approach" that takes commonly used and easily acquired bromobutyl rubber and converts it into what is described as a "highly elastic material with extraordinary self-healing properties." This is done without common vulcanizing or cross-linking via an additive.

Plans for commercial availability aren't stated.

VIA: Gizmodo