The CIDETEC Centre for Electrochemical Technologies in Spain has done the previously impossible: they have created the world’s first self-healing polymer that needs no outside intervention to heal. Previous attempts to create a self-healing material have been moderately successful, but they required the application of heat, pressure, or other outside intervention. Ibon Odriozola and his team used readily-available and inexpensive materials to create what they are calling a “terminator” polymer.
The amazing material can be cut all the way through, then the two halves put back into contact. After standing at room temperature for two hours, the material regains 97% of its original strength. Even when stretched manually, the polymer does not break. The new material is not only cool to look at; it could be used in endless applications where plastics are currently used. The improved material could increase the longevity of plastic parts in all kinds of gadgets. All that’s left for the team to figure out is how to make the “terminator” polymer stronger and harder…and how to stop it when it eventually becomes sentient and tries to kill us all.