Researchers of the University of Alicante (UA) Adhesion and Adhesives Laboratory have developed a flexible polymeric material capable of self-repair.
The material, which is a type of transparent resin, has the property of healing itself. When it is cut in half with scissors and the two pieces placed in contact with one another, the material rejoins itself within 10-15 seconds without any external input.
The cutting-joining process can also be performed in water or in any other fluid substance. "This property is a novelty all over the world that gives way to the development of different materials for their applications in sectors such as medicine, cosmetics, space industry, automotive, and many others", the researchers stated.
The material also has shape memory, which means that even when crushed and kneaded, it recovers its original shape in a few seconds.
According to the three UA researchers - José Miguel Martín, Jose Antonio Jofre and Andrés Yanez - "the valuable features of the new material are due to its lack of chemical reaction, which prevents its alteration and turns it into a biocompatible mass, that is, accepted by the whole body”.
The new material could be applied in various fields such as medicine, cosmetics, aerospace and automotive. In particular, the researchers cite medical applications, such as catheters for internal use on patients, whereby if the material broke inside a human body, the person need only be immobilised for a few seconds to allow the material to self-heal.