Terminator plastic is worlds first self healing polymer

They call it the Terminator, so should we be worried? Researchers at the CIDETEC Center for Electrochemical Technologies in San Sebastian, Spain, have created the world’s first man-made, self-healing polymer. When sliced in two, the material was able to spontaneously regenerate without a catalyst, the research team reported in the Sept. 13 issue of Materials Horizon, the journal of Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry.

The two halves were put in contact and allowed to stand at room-temperature, without applying any pressure, the scientists wrote.

The polymer began to knit itself back together within an hour and had repaired itself completely within 22 hours. In honor of the Hollywood film franchise that made Arnold Schwarzenegger an A lister, the scientists have nicknamed it the Terminator polymer.

This new material could be used to create stronger and longer-lasting plastic parts, sealants and adhesives, potentially leading to a world of burst pipes and bicycle tires that repair themselves. Or man hating, megalomanical killer robots. The fact that polys with similar chemical composition and mechanical properties are already used in a wide range of commercial products makes this system very attractive for a fast and easy implementation in real industrial applications, the authors wrote.

This breakthrough trumps similar research from two years ago. In 2011, researchers at Case Western Reserve University developed a polymer that repaired itself under a UV light.