Self healing polymers

Self healing polymers

This is what los españoles call, the Terminator. This polymer, which is exactly an Elastomeric Polymer, meaning elastic chemical material, is what creates this stretchy, gum-like effect. Elastomeric polymers derive from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and sometimes silicon; mostly are thermosets, that require heating to irreversibly heal.  Now this one here, this “terminator”, seems to be extremely special, requiring no such thing as thermosets to heal itself, it just… heals! Could it be a bio-polymer perhaps?

Bio-polymers are renewable polymers that are produced by living organisms; they are renewable and produced from bio-mass and non food crops.

IBON ODRIOZOLAIbon Odriozola and his spanish team, got to this result using ready-accessible materials, claims Gigjitz, but I wonder if it was also combined with a biomaterial that could exchange properties of regeneration. I wonder…
Regeneration on animals is very interesting, for example: lizards and spiders regenerate missing parts of their bodies like legs, or tail and regrow it if an attacker got rid of it. This missing part will still wiggle to make a distraction and escape. But these are organisms that grow parts from within themselves, how about joining back torn pieces such as this “terminator” español?

The Cnidarian Hydra.
cnidarian hydraAn invertebrate fresh water organism that when cut into pieces, the remains regenerate and create a new Hydra. Hydra’s regeneration is called morphallaxis, the regrowth and joining of pieces after loss of existing tissue. Multiplicity that is; in contrast with what happens to lizards and other animals, which is called epimorphis. Added to morphallaxis, hydras are hermaphrodites, which helps cellularly to multiply in case of breaking apart.

Both processes could be interesting to look at closer. Polymers could be greatly enhanced for medical solutions as well as construction wise. Elastomerics are broadly utilized in construction and if this new property could be added, solutions will increase. If something breaks, you can join it again or create a new one. This last option is the case of 3d printing products, managing to reform a broken piece will be hassle free. If you get a flat tire, it could possibly heal rather than replacing it with a new one; possibilities are closer than we expect it.

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Mabelle Plasencia

Founder and Editor at INmatteria©
• Architect | LEED AP BD+C, with an intense passion for materiality, innovation, technology and science. • Arquitecta | LEED AP BD+C apasionada por la materialidad, innovación, tecnología y ciencia.