Successfully made self-healing plastic
According to the research team, the new type of plastic can heal cracks in plastic products that humans cannot see with the naked eye – Photo: Asahi.com
Previously, in 2018, University of Tokyo chemistry professor Takuzo Aida and colleagues used a substance called “polyether thiourea” to create a plastic material that can self-heal if the fragments are put back together. together at room temperature.
In their latest study, they mixed this plastic material with another non-self-healing plastic at a rate of 20%. Research results show that this plastic mixture is still capable of self-healing at room temperature.
Explaining the mechanism of action of the new plastic, Professor Aida said that plastic contains chains of molecules twisted together. The bonds between these molecules will disappear when the plastic product is broken.
Currently, people have to melt ordinary plastic products at high temperatures to restore the bonds between these molecules. However, the new plastic can mend broken molecular chains through a mechanism known as “hydrogen bonding”. Therefore, putting the fragments together at room temperature for about 1 hour would allow them to fully restore the strength of the bonds.
According to the research team, this new type of plastic can seal cracks in plastic products that humans cannot see with the naked eye. So this technique could help develop sustainable plastic products that don’t need to be discarded or recycled.
The scientists hope to be able to use this plastic to make cell phone screens, eyeglass frames, home electronics, furniture, airplanes and cars.
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