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Regenerating plastic grows back after damage

A recently published paper in Science today details how to create regenerating plastic objects that can self-repair damage that stretches more than an inch across. An object can be damaged over and over and still repair itself without seriously compromising its strength.

In the video, Professor Scott White discusses the research breakthrough that allows plastic to not only heal, but truly regenerate.

Regenerate damage as large as a bullet hole

Self-healing materials have been around for about a decade. But they have never been able to heal damage much larger than the width of a human hair. But now, White and his colleagues Jeff Moore and Nancy Sottos have developed plastic that can regenerate damage as large as a bullet hole.

Gel

The plastic regenerates when two chemical channels in the material mix at a damaged area. This reaction forms a gel which fills in the hole and eventually hardens, similar to blood clotting in a wound.

White is a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a member of the Autonomous Materials Systems group at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

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