Monday, September 30, 2013

chemistry in the news: the terminator

Things break and tear all the time, this is nothing new. But what if they could heal themselves? Like in that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? Scientists recently developed a polymer that they named "the terminator" that is capable of healing itself. It is named after the T-1000 robot from The Terminator 2 movie that could heal itself. Yes, that's right, an inanimate object can now heal itself. They found that after cutting the polymer in two, it spontaneously healed itself. This is no joke. They cut the material with a razor, then placed the two halves together and left them to sit in a room at room temperature, undisturbed for a few hours. Upon their return, they were very surprised to find that the polymer had healed itself and reattached the two halves to make one whole material again. "An industrially familiar, permanently cross-linked poly(urea–urethane) elastomeric network was demonstrated to completely mend itself after being cut in two by a razor blade. It is the metathesis reaction of aromatic disulphides, which naturally exchange at room temperature, that causes regeneration" says Wilson from The polymer has a 97% healing efficiency and doesn't break after being stretched! This is big news for many products we use every day such as cars and electrical components. It could extend the life of many products, which in the long run would save you money because you wouldn't be replacing them or needing to have them repaired.
A link to the video showing this elastomer healing itself is listed below under sources.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! Although, I would have gone with 2-methyl-i'll-be-back-hydride. Hopefully somone will get that joke.