A protein from the bite of squid brought US researchers to track down a plastic material, which can heal itself. Waste of tons of could be avoided. The trick it is that a little water and light pressure for healing enough.
Worldwide Melik Daley and his colleagues at the Pennsylvania State University have collected results.
Circular tooth rows of squid of all possible subspecies.
And in all, they found the same protein that ensures that the teeth itself can heal themselves. With water, the pure contact sufficient to obtain the results last a lifetime.
The ability to produce the protein, systematically from the squid was quickly discarded, as for a gram of the substance is needed five kilogram squid. But succeeded Demirel and his group artificially to make the protein in a bacterial culture. Thus arose a polymer, a new acrylic resin, which has the same miraculous properties such as the teeth of the squid.
After the healing, so stable as before the injury
The researchers produced a prototype in the form of a dog bone and cut it into two halves. Then she warmed water to 45 degrees Celsius, it trickled to the interfaces and put light pressure with a metal tool on the plastic. After a short time the bone looked as reported previously, Demirel. Added to this was: “hardness tests have shown that the material was later just as resistant as before the cut.”
Meaningful applications see the scientists especially where repairs from the outside are hardly possible. Fiber-optic cable on the bottom of the sea, for example, can be exchanged today only, but can be repaired. In the future, these cables could cure so even, said Demirel. He holds it for engineering sciences but also for possible that the approach can be applied at some point during the wound healing in medicine. “On this goal, we will focus now”, says Daley.
Artificial skin can “sweat”
When a practical application is possible, but for now remains open. There are certainly already self-healing materials. So, researchers of the University of Illinois have developed a plastic 14 years ago which contains tiny bubbles, which are filled with a kind of ointment.
Creates a tear in the material, also such bubbles burst and release to speak their own glue.
Enforced this development has not so far though, other scientists but have similar goals. As chemist from Harvard presented a kind of artificial skin this year, which may “sweat”: A film of oil, which protects surfaces, renews itself up to 60 times themselves.
A little further on is the construction industry. She has developed a self-healing concrete.