American researchers have created a material that enables devices to mend themselves.
During the 253rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), scientists from the University of California, Riverside presented a material that could fix phone battery cracks or prevent devices from breaking.
According to Channel News Asia, this transparent material can expand up to 50 times its original size, which allows it to piece broken parts together. Researcher Chao Wang likened the material to X-Men’s Wolverine and the superhero’s self-healing characteristics.
“He could save the world, but only because he could heal himself. A self-healing material, when carved into two parts, can go back together like nothing has happened, just like our human skin,” he said to Science Daily.
This self-healing mechanism was implemented into the creation of a self-healing lithium ion battery to ensure that when a user drops his or her phone, the cellphone can fix itself and be of longer use.
On top of its self-healing characteristic, the material can also generate current (as needed for touchscreens), which makes it even more useful than the other self-healing polymers.
The team is now working on making the material more conducive for worse conditions such as high humidity. “Previous self-healing polymers haven’t worked well in high humidity,” Wang said in a report.
“Water gets in there and messes things up. It can change the mechanical properties. We are currently tweaking the covalent bonds within the polymer itself to get these materials ready for real-world applications.”
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