Friday 17 December 2010

Regenerating or self-healing plastic

Plastic is in no doubt a problematic material particularly in the light of how often it turns up as detritus polluting our waterways oceans and interurban landfills. But there are some areas of our erstwhile existence that particular gadgets and technologies are specifically relied upon, such as certain parts of wind turbines, medical equipment, satellites, aircraft or the Mars Rover, to keep working without fail.

Thus when a particular plastic part breaks or causes the whole thing to malfunction, it more or less means replacing the whole thing - no doubt in some cases a very costly and time consuming thing to have to do. But then along comes a clever new polymer invention, a shape-memory polymer that allows a certain kind of broken plastic part to self-repair.

In this video, advanced materials scientists Mia Siochi & Keith Gordon at Nasa's Langley research center demonstrate a self-healing polymeric material that repairs itself immediately after a breakage.

Simultaneously, Henry Sodano and his team at the Arizona State University have "brought researchers a step closer to the ideal: an autonomous system that could "regenerate itself entirely" Read more.
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