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Spanish scientists have developed the world’s first self-healing polymer – a plastic that can be cut in half and then left to repair itself without any outside intervention. Nicknamed “Terminator” after the shape-shifting T-100 robot in the film “Terminator 2,” the polymer could be used to help everyday items last longer through normal wear and tear. This could reduce the amount of broken products sent to landfills and help avoid costly repairs. Check out a video of the plastic in action after the jump.
Tests show that the Terminator plastic can heal almost completely when two pieces are pressed together and left to sit for just two hours. Once re-joined, the plastic can be manually stretched without breaking or snapping. The polymer could potentially be added to plastic parts in cars, houses, and electronics. Since the material is extremely soft, researchers are also working on developing a stronger version that could have other industrial applications.
Similar compounds have been used to create artificial skin and even waterproof textiles with an ability to heal when damaged, but all previous attempts have required some sort of external intervention to begin the healing process.