Self-healing materials will eventually fix anything from cell phone screens to car fenders, enabling surfaces to heal on their own in the presence of different types of light. But none of the earlier prototypes we’ve seen work quite like this new plastic: It bleeds red at the site of injury. Then it heals itself, inspired by the properties of tree trunks and human skin.
Over the weekend, faced with the dreaded Yellow Light of Death, I ripped apart a PlayStation 3 and blasted it with a 500-degree heat gun to re-flow the GPU and CPU. It was pretty fun and it worked, much to the delight of the member of my household who was this close to finishing “Batman: Arkham City.” Next time, this new self-healing circuit compound could make our work unnecessary.
Self-healing materials are a thing of the future, but certainly not a distant future. For instance, NASA plans to wrap airliners in a self-healing skin within the next 20 years, and things like flexible, self-healing concrete have already been demonstrated, albeit only in the lab.
Call it science imitating art imitating life. Arizona State researchers are working up a self-diagnosing, self-healing material that can sense the presence of damage and regenerate itself -- just like the Terminator. Like a biological structure, this “autonomous adaptive structure” could be used to develop useable composites that are self-healing, halting the progression of cracks or damage and regenerating material wherever needed to re-strengthen the structure.
By Gregory MonePosted 03.12.2008 at 1:30 pm 0 Comments
MITs Angela Belcher, a former winner of PopScis Brillant 10, is developing new materials that could lead to gadgets that mend their cracks when dropped on the floor, and wont die if exposed to water.
When Belcher was a grad student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, she was studying how the abalone manufactures its remarkably tough shell out of a basic mineral. Her office at the time had an ocean view, and Belcher found herself glancing back and forth between the abalones watery home and the periodic table on her wall.