View Full Version : Self-healing rubber bounces back

02-21-2008, 08:24 PM
Broken bits of rubber can stick themselves back together again.

Snap this stretchy piece of rubber in two, and it will heal itself back into a stretchy piece of rubber again. The material's eerie ability to 'heal' itself means that it can be broken, stuck and stretched time and time again.

The self-healing rubber was made in the lab of Ludwik Leibler, at the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution in Paris. Leibler and his colleagues built up their rubber from simple starting materials — fatty acids and urea (that's vegetable oil and a component of urine).

The resulting material is a cross between silly putty and a rubber ball — it can stretch, but when snapped in two it can be stuck back together again. The team hasn't yet tried to mold the stuff into a ball, so they don't know for sure how bouncy it is. But, Leibler adds, “knowing what I know about it, it will bounce.” Their research is published in Nature.

The material is more than just a curiosity, says Takuzo Aida, a chemist at Tokyo University. “The discovery is very close to [being used in] business,” he says. Self-healing rubber could have applications in anything from adhesives to bicycle tires.

Full Article (http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080220/full/news.2008.611.html)

02-21-2008, 10:58 PM
Maybe it will help avoid some unwanted pregnancies.