As we get closer to understanding that we need to get rid of the use of plastic in the future – and generally any substance that does not have the possibility of self-healing – some groups of scientists and researchers are beginning to experiment with such materials in an increasingly bold way. So today there is news that an independent team of material engineering specialists from the University of Texas at the USA has developed a special type of self-healing material, mainly consisting of liquid rubber, which has the ability to polymerize – that is, it can be artificially hardened.
The material itself is flexible and interesting in terms of its modification – it is based on the use of the notorious liquid rubber, treated in a special way so as to respond to ultraviolet rays and change its shape depending on their direction and intensity. Moreover, the material itself was prepared using a special 3D printing technique called laser stereolithography, which involves the use of highly concentrated and accurate lasers that can perform their manipulations with the material.
Most of the material, including its surface layer, consists of hardened liquid rubber, and inside it are tanks with not yet hardened rubber base. Thus, when the surface of the material is stressed and cracking, the material itself begins to deform – and at that moment, not yet solidified liquid rubber inside these tanks starts to come out and with the help of ultraviolet radiation restores the material.
Despite the preliminary nature of this study and the material itself, scientists are already aware of the fact that soon their development will become one of the most interesting and basic in relation to the creation of other, even more multifunctional and promising materials. Thus, we are witnessing a good alternative to the commonly used plastic, which, moreover, does not know how to independently repair itself.