Terminator Polymer Self-Heals...Just Like in the Movies

Qmed Staff

September 19, 2013

1 Min Read
Terminator Polymer Self-Heals...Just Like in the Movies

Researchers in Europe developed a new self-healing material, dubbing it "Terminator Plastic." Like the sci-fi movie featuring an Austrian bodybuilder, the new polymer could be used to improve the lifespan and security of plastic parts in medical devices and other components. Researchers published results in the British Royal Society of Chemistry's Materials Horizons journal.

In the past, most self-healing plastics required the use of a catalyst to promote quantitative healing. However, the new polymer can heal without the presence of a catalyst.

In one example, researchers cut two pieces of the new material together. After 120 minutes, the samples demonstrated 97% healing efficiency. In addition, the newly-healed material was unbreakable when stretched manually.

According to researchers, the self-healing thermoset elastomers were synthesized through the use of common polymeric starting materials. In addition, researchers note that the new plastic doesn't require complex industrial processes to create.

For the medical device industry, the new polymer has potential for a variety of different uses. Traditional prosthetics often experience a significant number of jolts, shocks and shearing pressures throughout the day. With this polymer, cracks and other structural issues could self-heal, reducing the need for replacements or repair.

"The fact that poly(urea-urethane)s with similar chemical composition and mechanical properties are already used in a wide range of commercial products makes this system very attractive for a fast and easy implementation in real industrial applications," noted researchers.

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