UC Riverside Researchers Make Wolverine-Inspired Material That Can Heal Itself [Video]By Eleanor Bright
Researchers from the University of California Riverside invented a material that can heal itself. This means that when it is torn, it goes back to its normal state. The material could also be stretched up to 50 times of its original length.
Chao Wang, lead researcher, was inspired by the comic character Wolverine in X-Men. Wolverine was his favorite character because he was always able to save the world. This was because whenever he was wounded, the skin closed again as if nothing happened.
This gave Wang an idea to invent materials that would heal themselves. This could be used in making electronics devices such as smartphones. Just like Wolverine, when the gadgets are damaged, they would just repair themselves. The material would also be useful in making robots because if ever a part is broken, it would make the repair itself, Science Daily reported.
Devices made of self-healing material would never break. This means even if gadgets were broken, they would just heal themselves. This way, they could last longer.
To make this material, Wang and his co-researchers searched for the right material. Their understanding of chemical bonding was of primary importance. The researchers turned to polymer, which is made with both strong and weak covalent bonds. When both edges of the materials that had been split or cut touched, they would automatically close without leaving any traces of the broken part. This could happen several times yet the material would never lose its self-healing nature, Daily Mail reported.
Currently, the self-healing material is improved to make it resistant to elements of nature especially water and fire. It has to be resistant to these elements if they would be used in real life applications.
Wang and his team of researchers presented self-healing material at the 253rd American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition. Soon, people will be having gadgets that can be used for a long time.