The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Polymer gel and self-healing materials

regrow.jpgFor a while now people have been talking about the possibility of self-organizing and self -healing material. At the University of Pittsburgh there is a proposal for a new material that can extensively repair itself when damaged.

 

"This is one of the holy grails of materials science," noted Dr. Balazs. "While others have developed materials that can mend small defects, there is no published research regarding systems that can regenerate bulk sections of a severed material. This has a tremendous impact on sustainability because you could potentially extend the lifetime of a material by giving it the ability to regrow when damaged."

 

The research team developed a hybrid material of nanorods about ten nanometers in thickness embedded in a polymer gel surrounded by a solution containing monomers (a molecule that can combine with others to form a polymer) and cross-linkers (molecules that link one polymer chain to another) much like the biological processes in species such as amphibians, which can regenerate severed limbs. 

 

Although years from production use, this research provides a view into some interesting possibilities for the future.

 

Tags: Materials
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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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