Self-healing

  • Materials that can heal themselves after becoming damaged have opened up some interesting new possibilities over the past decade or so, and a newly developed example inspired by squid ring teeth is claimed to act faster than most.
  • A substance known as calcium phosphate cement is commonly used to repair broken bones, both holding them together and encouraging the growth of new bone tissue. Now, scientists have added carbon fibers to the material to also make it self-healing.
  • When a regular material is torn or ruptured, it stays that way unless we tend to it with our hands or a machine to repair the damage. But a new self-healing conductive polymer needs no such help, and can regain full functionality after being severed.
  • We've already heard about experimental self-healing concrete, that can repair cracks within itself. Now, scientists have gone a step further, utilizing bacteria to create building materials that can be grown on-site – and that regenerate when broken.
  • In a quest for safer lithium-ion batteries, a team of engineers at the University of Illinois have come up with a solid polymer-based electrolyte that can not only heal itself but is recyclable without the need for high temperatures or strong acids.
  • ​If we're ever going to get on top of the whole plastic waste problem, a partial solution may lie in substances that fix themselves when broken, instead of having to be discarded. With that in mind, many groups have been developing self-healing materials – and one of the latest functions like blood.
  • ​It's certainly a hassle when a car gets a big paint-scratch, but smaller scratches in its clear coat are much more common and still unsightly. A new corn-based transparent finish could help, as its scratches heal up when subjected to heat.
  • Researchers have developed 3D-printed materials that can repair themselves after becoming fractured or punctured, which have the potential to be a game changer in the shoe industry, tire manufacture, soft robotics development and perhaps even electronics.
  • Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a self-healing coating that can patch up its imperfections in a matter of seconds. It can do so even when underwater or in chemically-harsh environments.​
  • It’s not enough to reduce our carbon output – we need to actively remove some from the atmosphere. On a small scale MIT engineers have developed a new material that can suck carbon out of the air and use it to get stronger or patch itself up.
  • ​People with acute coughs should take honey and cough medicines before going to the doctor, official advice from the UK says. Coughs caused by cold and flu viruses, as well as viral bronchitis, should last around three weeks, and do not necessarily need a trip to the doctor, according to the advice.
  • Everything from electronics to concrete is getting the self-healing treatment nowadays, but the technology rarely seems to make it to commercial products. Now, Imperial Motion is pitching a self-healing tent, made out of a proprietary material it calls Nano Cure Technology (NCT).