US develops new self-healing plastics

Recently, researchers at the University of Illinois in the United States have developed a plastic with a self-healing mechanism. This material is capable of repairing voids up to 1 cm in diameter and recovering most of the original strength of the material during this process. The results have been published in the journal Science.

In this new study, Wendy Sutter Cruze, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her colleagues combined chemical and mechanical engineering research. The researchers developed two liquids, which, when mixed, caused two reactions, the first reacting the mixture into a gel, and the second reacting it into a hard plastic. Researchers have conducted controlled collisions with plastics to create a hole and countless cracks to test their self-healing capabilities. This process causes the microchannel to rupture, which in turn causes the liquid to flow out, mix and eventually solidify. In this process, it takes 20 minutes to fill a hole having a diameter of about 1 cm, and the gel can be solidified into a hard plastic in about 3 hours. Researchers are now working to make the system self-healing faster.

The potential applications of this new technology range from aerospace engineering to surgical implant surgery. However, polymer fragmentation in real life may be much more complicated than fractures produced in the laboratory, so self-healing mechanisms may need to rely on a combination of techniques.
China Jiuzhi Plastics Network (Note: Most of the data in this article comes from the Internet for reference only)

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