A surfboard that seals its own cracks without having to cure in the sun for days. Underwater structures that can be fixed with less work and downtime. Joints that are almost instantly stronger after surgery. Sounds like science fiction, but thanks to researchers at UC Santa Barbara, it’s coming closer to reality.
“Since the late 1990s, there have been many papers that concentrate on self-healing polymers under dry conditions,” said Kollbe Ahn, a researcher at UCSB’s Marine Science Institute and a lead author of a letter published in Nature Materials. “What we wanted was to study a polymer that could heal under moist conditions, or underwater.”