Robots’ self-healing abilites in the Terminator films are the inspiration behind the name of a new self-healing polymer that has been discovered by researchers at the CIDETEC Centre for Electrochemical Technologies in San Sebastian, Spain.
Synthetic polymers, which can be found in all kinds of materials, are different from natural polymers like skin because they are unable to repair damaged cross-linking bonds that held the material together; that is until now.
A new polymer, named “Terminator“, discovered by the researchers has the potential to lengthen the life of many different objects thanks to its self-healing ability. The team from CIDETEC sliced a cylinder made from the polymer and then put the ends back together. Within the hour it began to heal and within two it had regenerated by 97%. When the researchers tried to pull the repaired cylinder apart, they were unable, showing the structure to be as strong as it was origianlly.
There have been many attempts to discover such a polymer but this self-healing polymer is the first one to work without a catalyst. It does not need UV light or pressure in order for the regeneration to be started.
So what are the practical applications of this discovery. Well imagine a water pipe bursts. In the future, instead of waiting on a plumber who thinks he has all the time in the world while you stand in water, you could potentially hold the pieces of pipe together and watch them repair before your eyes.
How would you apply this new material? We’d love to hear your practical uses for “Terminator”.