Self Healing Rubber

A self healing material has been developed, rather than having large molecules cross-linked with covalent bonds as in vulcanized rubber, this polymer is based upon smaller molecules which are ‘cross-linked’ by weaker ‘hydrogen bonding’. After the band is cut the two halves can be placed back together, after around 1 hour the original strength is recovered – presumably the molecules are fairly mobile and some diffusion occurs to remove the evidence of the breakage.

This work new material has been reported in ‘Nature’.

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2 Responses

  1. So in the future I just take the thorn / nail / glass / stone out of my tyre, pump it up and start cycling again. Cooooooool 🙂

  2. Yeah, that would be an excellent application. Bikes are amazing – imagine you can travel around without using a car! 😉

    Even better if it can self inflate too. There are various systems for car tyres already, also tyres that you can drive on without any air in them (strong walls), There is a system with a liquid that sets in air to plug any holes.

    I think that the concept of self-repairing materials isn’t that new. I think a polymer has been tested for use in fuel tanks before.

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