University of Tokyo Scientists Develop Mechanically Robust Plastic that can Self-Heal

A recent study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) informs that more than 90 per cent of plastic is not recycled in the world. Plastic, when not recycled, either ends up in landfills or the ocean or is burnt, thereby affecting the ecosystem on a larger scale. Not to mention the massive damage that is caused by micro-plastics that are present everywhere, even in our blood. Since plastic has become a part of our day-to-day lives, it is not easy to overcome its versatile use; unless replaced by an affordable alternative material. Scientists from the University of Tokyo have a solution to reduce the amount of plastic waste that is massively polluting the environment. A team of scientists has reportedly discovered self-healing plastic by combining conventional plastic with a special agent that allows it to heal cracks and crevices. Checkout for more details on SURFACES REPORTER (SR).

Research findings

Chemistry professor Takuzo Aida at the Japanese university believes that this approach would lead to the creation of a long-lasting plastic that would not require the need for any recycling or disposing. The self-repair plastic has been designed to address the problem of plastic pollution by reducing its use and abuse. Aida and team used polyether thiourea in a study, back in 2018, to create a plastic that can self-repair its cracks even at room temperature. For the recent research, the team applied the same plastic material to another plastic with no self-repair function at a rate of 20 per cent. The result of the research showed that mixed plastic can spontaneously repair itself at normal temperatures.

When conventional plastic starts to degrade, a chain of molecules that makes the material starts to break. To repair and recycle them, plastic must be melted at a high temperature. This causes the use of an energy-intensive process that involves more pollution.

Made-to-last plastic

On the contrary, through the hydrogen bonding process, this self-healing material gets broken down into parts, which further get pressed against each other at room temperature for nearly an hour. This is when the plastic starts to regenerate and regains its firmness. Reportedly, the same thing happens also for non-visible lesions. The team suggests that self-healing plastic can find space wherever traditional plastic is used such as smartphone displays, household appliances, everyday objects, eyeglass frames, cars, etc.

The findings of the research had been presented at the annual conference of the Chemical Society of Japan on March 26, 2022.

Image credits: Top: Reader’s Digest; Above: Wiley Online Library


Post Your Comment

"Content that powers your Business. News that keeps you informed."

Surfaces Reporter is one of India's leading media in Print & Digital Telecast for News on Interiors & Architecture Projects, Products, Building Materials, and the Business of Design! Since 2011, it serves as a referral for designers & architects to know about inspiring projects and source new products. If you have a Product or Project worth publishing in Surfaces Reporter, please email us or you can also submit your project online.

Like Surfaces Reporter on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram | Subscribe to our magazine | Sign Up for the FREE Surfaces Reporter Magazine Newsletter

Designer Uses Recycled Newspaper to Create Sturdy Bricks and Furniture | PaperBricks

Designer WooJai Lee has invented a whole new range of bricks and furniture that is made out of recycled paper. Although Lee wasn’t fond of nature, seeing the lush green nature around him while growing up in New Zealand unknowingly influenced him.

Read more

Useful Everyday Objects Made From Recycled Plastic Materials | Plastplan

An Iceland-based design studio- Plastplan- uses recycled plastic materials to craft everyday objects such as a wall shelf, chair, stool, mirror, coffee table, table lamp, and flower vases.

Read more

Designer Adapts Rock Formation Process to Create Tiles Made out of Household Plastic Waste | Plastic Stone Tiles

For her bachelor’s degree at the Koln International School of Design, student designer Enis Akiev created a material from plastic waste by exposing it to processes that are similar to a rock formation.

Read more

An Ultra Strong Graphene-Enhanced Plastic Developed by Gerdau Graphene | SR Material Update

The company claims graphene-enhanced plastics can reduce raw material usage by 30%.

Read more

This is alt