An incredible new polymer that heals itself to 97% efficiency

The Spanish scientists who developed it are calling it the 'Terminator' Polymer — and for good reason. Like the T-1000 blown to bits, it can spontaneously and independently repair itself without any outside intervention.

Scientists have coaxed nanoparticles into self-assembly, and even created a microchip that can heal itself. But this polymer is the first of its kind.

It's a breakthrough that could eventually be used to create materials that improve the security and lifetime of plastic parts in everyday products like electronic components, cars, and houses.

In this video, you can watch as the permanently cross-linked poly(urea-urethane) elastomeric network completely mends itself after being cut in two with a razor blade.

The material essentially behaves like a Velcro-like adhesive, featuring a healing efficiency of 97% (wow!) in just two hours. Even after cutting, the 'healed' material is unbreakable when stretched manually.

To make the material the researchers prepared self-healing thermoset elastomers from common polymeric starting materials. A metathesis reaction of aromatic disulphides —which interact naturally at room temperature — causes the regeneration.

Read the entire study at Materials Horizons: "Catalyst-free room-temperature self-healing elastomers based on aromatic disulfide metathesis."

Images: CIDETEC Centre for Electrochemical Technologies.