Latest in Science

Image credit:

Shape-memory polymer knows when it's hurt, fixes itself

Laura June
12.10.10
7 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

We're no strangers to the futuristic catch-all idea of 'self-healing' -- it's one of the basic tent poles of many conceptions of tomorrow. That said, researchers are currently hard at work at Arizona State on a material that -- you guessed it -- can detect when it is damaged and, of course, heal itself. Though we sound a bit incredulous, the science is pretty simple here, and the progress on the project is very real. The material uses what the researchers are calling 'shape-memory' polymers and have a fiber optic network embedded within them which acts as the damage sensor as well as the heat delivery system. The polymers return to a pre-defined shape when heated to a certain temperature, and, when damage is detected, an infrared laser sends light through the network to the damaged area, triggers the shape-memory, and commands the area to repair the crack or tear -- regaining up to 96 percent of its original strength. The so-called autonomous adaptive structures are part of a long-term research into shape-memory healing which could impact long-term developments of implantable medical devices, for instance. A video of the shape recovery process is after the break.


All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Share
7 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The best mobile devices for students

The best mobile devices for students

View
Lenovo’s Smart Clock becomes a more capable home hub

Lenovo’s Smart Clock becomes a more capable home hub

View
Wirecutter's best deals: Save $60 on an Acer Chromebook 11

Wirecutter's best deals: Save $60 on an Acer Chromebook 11

View
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: Weird, but in a good way

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: Weird, but in a good way

View
iFixit teardown takes a look inside the Note 10+ 5G

iFixit teardown takes a look inside the Note 10+ 5G

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr