Whether by environmental damage or from general wear and tear, eventually, most materials tend to crack under pressure. In the last decade, there has been a rise in the development of materials that can self-heal. But now, thanks to scientific research, even dry and solid materials are being engineered to be ‘self-healing’.
From concrete to cars, researchers are creating longer-lasting ‘smart materials’ that reduce energy, material amount, and time taken for repairs. At Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, researchers have created a rubber-like material that is strong, robust and heals itself when damaged.
The material is connected by fibrous strands that redistribute stress so that there is no localised point that can cause the material to crack. This is done by engineering the polymers in the material to be reversible so that the bonds reform when broken, creating a strong and self-healing ‘supermaterial’ that snaps back into shape when damaged.
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