Researchers at Clemson University developed an innovative self-healing polymer by an expensive method.
Scientists were finding ways and means to develop self-healing qualities to polymers on a commercial scale. However, only small batches of self-healing polymers were developed since the last two decades. Marek Urban and his team were able to devise an innovative technique that helps in producing the said polymer in large scale. Their findings were published in the journal Science. On October 12, 2018.
The developed technique is useful in commodities, such as paints, plastics, and coatings. The team demonstrated the new polymer in laboratory, and is planning to produce in large scale. â€œIt's not available at the industrial scale, but it's very close," said Urban, J.E. Sirrine Foundation Chair, and Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson University.
The team focused on the interactions between co-polymers, akin to â€˜spaghetti strands with little brushes on the sideâ€™. They observed that the longer strands got more tightly entangled, interlocking among each other and making it difficult to separate the â€˜spaghetti strandsâ€™. Urban explained: â€œAs simple as this may sound, these studies also revealed that ubiquitous and typically weak van der Waals interactions in plastics, when oriented, will result in self-healing. This discovery will impact the development of sustainable materials using weak bonding which becomes collectively very strong when oriented.â€
The team hopes that their work will boosts in upgrading and developing products in oil and paints industries by dramatically cutting down the prize of the products.
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