Scientists from the University of Illinois have created a prototype of self-healing "live" plastic
There are a lot of self-healing plastic projects. Some of them, quite promising, were published on Habré. But so far, none of the projects has not received wide distribution, due to various problems.
The other day there was information about another project, the idea of which is very unusual. And the idea is to draw “capillaries” through the plastic, in which two different substances will circulate.
In case of damage to the plastic (the inventors demonstrate holes with a diameter of about 8 millimeters), the capillaries are also damaged and the liquids mix. When mixed, they form a gel, which after some time hardens, forming a plastic “patch”. At the same time, gravity does not prevent the liquid from closing the hole, since filling takes place rather slowly, with the formation of a gel, as mentioned above.
Of course, such a system will not be able to fix especially large damage, but, for example, cracks in pipes or boards, or some other plastic parts can be fixed. It should be noted that the strength of the “patch” is about 60% of the strength of the starting material, which was demonstrated in the experiment.
In general, this system is very interesting, but probably its implementation is a complicated and problematic business, because you need to provide for a whole “circulatory” system for plastic things, tanks with a “patch” and all that. On the other hand, it may well be that this or another team of scientists will be able to offer a simple solution to this issue.