Self-healing plastics to make cars of the future scratch-proof

Every driver, be it someone with years of experience or a relative newbie, knows how painful it can be when your vehicle gets scratched. What feels even worse is having to shell out good money to have that minor cosmetic blemish fixed. Even though scratch removing pens are a dime a dozen in the market, they aren’t a fool proof solution to scratched up body panels. However, a new kind of self-healing plastics developed by researchers working under Dr. Marek W. Urban may be just the answer to vehicle owners’ scratch woes.

Self-Healing Plastic
Self-Healing Plastic

Demoed at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the ACS (American Chemical Society), this new kind of plastic material sends out a red signal when it is damaged and possesses the ability to renew and repair itself as and when it is exposed to visible light from a regular bulb or sunlight. Generally, when the surface of plastic is cracked or scratched, the lengthy links of chemicals that chain the material together change shape or break. The research team behind this self-repairing plastic tweaked these chain links so that they start to emit a red light around the damaged area to indicate breakage. The same light reacts to sunlight or strong visible artificial light and allows the chemical chains to form links again.

If these self-repairing surfaces are applied to automobile manufacturing, it would allow mechanics and buyers to repair scratches, dents and damaged body parts simply by shining a bright light on the spot or simply leaving the vehicle out in the sunlight to keep it in optimum working order.

Via: Business Insider

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