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Paint scratches like this could be healed using KIT's new technology   (Photo: Shutterstoc...

Researchers at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a self-healing polymer that can mend itself and fully restore its mechanical properties in just a few minutes when heated at low temperatures. The material could be used to create self-repairing sealants, scratch-resistant paints, and more reliable fiber-reinforced plastic components.  Read More

Researchers from Iowa State University are the latest to shift their focus to the area of ...

The advantages of durable, long-lasting electronics are well established and, indeed, desirable in electronic devices large and small. But in what scenario would you want a device to dissolve away leaving no trace? The truth is, from military to medicine, "transient electronics" has a great many potential applications. The latest research team to shift its focus to this emerging field is a group from Iowa State University, which is developing materials that can melt away when remotely triggered.  Read More

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft initially suffered from problems with its lithium-ion b...

Last year, lithium-ion battery fires became a hot topic, pardon the inescapable pun, with both a Tesla automobile and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner succumbing to fires. In cross-disciplinary research at the University of North Carolina (UNC), a compound being studied to prevent marine life from sticking to ships may also be the solvent (and the solution) to keep lithium ion batteries from catching alight when they overheat.  Read More

A piece of dynamic polyurea, that has healed up after being cut in two

Stretchy, self-healing paints and other coatings recently took a step closer to common use, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Illinois. Scientists there have used "off-the-shelf" components to create a polymer that melds back together after being cut in half, without the addition of catalysts or other chemicals.  Read More

Researchers at the Institute for Molecules and Materials at Radboud University Nijmegen us...

Previously, chemists have managed to create artificial cell walls and developed synthetic DNA to produce self-replicating, synthetic bacterial cells. Now, for the first time, researchers have used polymers to produce an artificial eukaryotic cell capable of undertaking multiple chemical reactions through working organelles.  Read More

Gizmag puts Rhino Shield to the test

It was just a month ago that we reported on Evolutive Labs' Rhino Shield, a 6-layer transparent polymer film designed to protect smartphone screens. Not only is it said to ward off scratches and fingerprints, but it's also reportedly five times more impact-resistant than Gorilla Glass 2. Evolutive recently sent me a testing kit, so I could see first-hand just how tough it is – without endangering my smartphone in the process. Here's how things turned out ...  Read More

The self-healing polymer devised at CIDETEC can mend itself without a catalyst (Photo: Roy...

A team of scientists at the CIDETEC Centre for Electrochemical Technologies have successfully created the first self-healing polymer that can heal by itself at room temperature, without the need for external catalysts. The material could be used as an industrial adhesive or to replace similar compounds in cars, houses and electrical components to make them more fault-tolerant.  Read More

Metabolix is genetically engineering switchgrass to produce bioplastic and chemicals.

Petroleum-based plastic may be fantastic, but due to the durability that makes the material so popular it may take hundreds of years to break down. Plastic made from renewable biomass, known as bioplastic, is a biodegradable alternative to fossil fuel versions. A company called Metabolix, based in Cambridge (MA), has been working on a technology to genetically engineer plants such as switchgrass to create a biodegradable polymer that can be extracted directly from the plant.  Read More

Pitch drop caught in the act of falling in the Trinity College experiment (Photo: Trinity ...

Is pitch a liquid or a solid? It turns out that while it appears to be a solid at room temperature, it actually flows like a liquid ... a very, very viscous liquid. Why is this interesting? One of the world's longest running experiments, which began nearly 70 years ago at Trinity College Dublin, has now recorded the fall of a drop of pitch on video for the first time.  Read More

Two-photon photoactivator/photoinhibitor allows fabrication of polymer structures one hund...

Data storage and preservation are no longer restricted to the needs of individual users, or even of companies or governments large and small. Instead they are the only remaining approach to preserving the history associated with the evolution of the digital age, and possibly the post-human era to follow. A research team headed by Prof. Min Gu of Swinburne University of Technology has developed a new data storage method that may be of considerable use for such civilization-sized concerns by putting a petabyte of information on a DVD-sized polymer disk.  Read More

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