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Smart Rubber Promises Self-Mending Products 122

An anonymous reader writes "French scientists have developed a new rubber that can heal itself after being cut or broken. If two broken ends of the material are pushed together, and left for an hour, they join to become just as stretchy as before. There is even a video of the supposed creation in action. 'Regular rubber gets its strength from the fact that long chains of polymer molecules are coupled, or "crosslinked," in three different ways: through covalent, ionic, and hydrogen bonding between molecules. Of these three bond types, only the hydrogen bonds can be remade once a material is fractured, although normally there are not enough hydrogen bonds for the rubber to re-couple in this way. The solution devised by Leibler and colleagues is to simply get rid of the ionic and covalent bonds. They developed a transparent, yellowy-brown rubber in which crosslinking is performed only by hydrogen bonds.'"

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