IBM Accidentally Creates New Self-Healing Polymer

IBM Accidentally Creates New Self-Healing Polymer

Don't mind us in the material science lab...just accidentally cookin' up some revolutionary strong, self-healing polymers over here.

IBM, despite what 80's Apple fanboys will tell you, has always been a pretty rad, cutting-edge company. Of course much of what IBM does now doesn't even compare to the IBM of the past, like their polymer research division.

That division published its breakthrough new discovery in Science today, where the IBM researchers outline a new strong, self-healing polymer.

The new polymer, which IBM has made in two forms, has endless applications. The first form of the polymer, which is the form that was accidentally discovered by Dr. Jeannette Garcia, is solid, and its applications include manufacturing and metal replacement. The second, liquid form of the polymer is what's shown in the video above. This rubber band-like substance is self-healing -- so two separate pieces of the polymer join to form one solid piece upon contact.

There's a lot of research ahead -- IBM has already discovered other properties of the polymer, but they haven't disclosed anything yet -- and there should be more news on the substance later this year.

Source: Engadget

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Gotta love scientific accidents.

Unless they involve gamma radiation. We're just cautiously optimistic about those.

Yet another amazing scientific breakthrough brought to you by complete chance. SCIENCE!

In all honesty, I can't wait to see the potential applications of this new material. I wonder what we should call it?

Hmmm.

I look forward to seeing this video again once they've translated it into English.

Ba-dum-dum tssshhh!

Science comes through yet again. Glory to the Scientific Method! All hail the Accidental Discovery!

I'm all kinds of intrigued by the possibilities of this. Self-healing materials are just fucking amazing. I can't wait to see what they do with it.

Dreadman75:
Yet another amazing scientific breakthrough brought to you by complete chance. SCIENCE!

In all honesty, I can't wait to see the potential applications of this new material. I wonder what we should call it?

-tries to hold back giggling- medi-gel

because anything with the word "healing" in it needs to be called that, regardless of its process being entirely irrelevant to biological tissue. :P this dang website.

Sooo... this is pretty cool and all...

...but how long until IBM T-1000's kill us all?

So we are one step closer to web-fluid. This news makes me happy.

Kidding aside, this is an interesting discovery. I'll be eager to see what applications come of it. It fires the imagination for sure. The thought of real life medi-kits (or Bio-Foam if you're into Halo) would be the first thing one would hope for, but obviously that's a reach given what's being shows off here. More likely it'll replace those little rubbery booger things that they put to keep bottles from rattling together and magazines from flying open.

Still, advancement is advancement! YAY SCIENCE!

I don't understand much of this but It sounds like one of the applications is to use it in road materials. Does this mean we're going to have streets that heal their own potholes?

Cause that would be super.

Pretty neat stuff, but honestly all I can think is "How much fun would it be to have a job in which you just play around in a lab all day?" By "play around", of course I mean doing research and experiments and such which sometimes leads to accidental discoveries such as this one.

I wish I was a scientist.

RJ 17:
Pretty neat stuff, but honestly all I can think is "How much fun would it be to have a job in which you just play around in a lab all day?" By "play around", of course I mean doing research and experiments and such which sometimes leads to accidental discoveries such as this one.

I wish I was a scientist.

I dunno, just dicking around with the centrifuge and Bunsen burners used to be a lot of fun, and we were able to make that look like fierce experimentation much of the time. Still, I can imagine there are frequent times in that sort of profession when the level of job satisfaction is unmatched by anything else.

Hm, self repairing bullet resistant vests, and armoured vehicles came to mind first.

I am clearly, meant to be a super villain.

Oh wow this is all kinds of cool. Hmm... really the applications with this range from self healing clothes like raincoats to... Oh now that's a nice idea, no more leaky water pipes ever because they would heal their own holes, there's a ton of water saved in the system.

The military applications are even more absurd with a layer of this able to make your tank or body armor at least partially self healing, this is even better when you consider submarines and boats where a hole is really really dangerous.

And then space travel... Dear god this is good material for space stations if it can survive the conditions because a self healing polymer would make the walls of the station much more durable in the long term.

Devin Connors:

There's a lot of research ahead -- IBM has already discovered other properties of the polymer, but they haven't disclosed anything yet -- and there should be more news on the substance later this year.

It's the Venom symbiote, isn't it?

Those "other properties" include bonding with a human and making them aggressive and sometimes emo.

Horay science! The most exciting part of this polymer material was the ease of recycling. The resulting polymers can be dissolved in dilute sulfuric acid. In case you didn't know, more sulfuric acid is produced than any other chemical product. That is huge for closing the loop on materials chemistry. I was trying to work out a couple basic ideas for depolymerization myself in an earlier phase of my own research, but nothing this sophisticated.

Horay!

Tuesday Night Fever:
Sooo... this is pretty cool and all...

...but how long until IBM T-1000's kill us all?

I don't think IBM is a major player in the aerial combat drone industrial space. You might want to look at general atomics, lockheed, and boeing for your death dealing combat automaton needs.

This sounds great, but considering how "self-healing" doesn't go well with "make more money" we'll see where it goes.

Kuala BangoDango:
Hmmm.

I look forward to seeing this video again once they've translated it into English.

Ba-dum-dum tssshhh!

The thing is like super super good, cuz it doesn't break and it sticks together on its own, and if you don't like it anymore, you can like... put it on acid and stuff and make it again, and science!

Barbas:
I dunno, just dicking around with the centrifuge and Bunsen burners used to be a lot of fun

All that did was get me sent to the principal's office and solidified my decision to spend more time playing my drums instead of pursuing science-y stuff... o.O

image

Really that is just...really cool!

Now all we need to do is wait for it to replicate itself and we can have THE BLOB.

Sarge: I am the past, where things cost less, and people knew the value of a hard day's work. But they only lived to be twenty-eight years old.

Simmons: And I am the future, where people have no morals and no emotions but we have a bunch of kickass gadgets.

Grif: And I'm the present, which sucks. We have nothing cool, and also no morals.

- Red VS Blue, Season 3, Episode 43, Make Your Time

We have so transitioned from the present to the future...

Anyway, cool story bro. Let's see what you an make with it.

The Hungry Samurai:
I don't understand much of this but It sounds like one of the applications is to use it in road materials. Does this mean we're going to have streets that heal their own potholes?

Cause that would be super.

Seconded and double-supered. On both points. I clicked on that link to the Science article and... yeah. Not since Advanced Chem have so many terms flown right over my head. ;(

Tuesday Night Fever:

...but how long until IBM T-1000's kill us all?

Surely IBM is the one coming up with HAL 9000. After all, H-A-L is a one-letter shift from the name I-B-M. ;)

There's no way this is research is going anywhere else. Corporations HATE progress.

My first thought when it comes to applications was for high stress applications where we currently use metal, like in automotive or especially aeroplane parts, where metal fatigue is a risk factor.

Hey! That's neat as hell! We probably won't see it on the market in the near future, probably something to do with price and existing material manufacturers fighting it, but still. SCIENCE!

Time to put my newly acquired chemistry degree to work!

It's an interesting article. The HDCN system they described is very interesting but it's characterization is a bit lacking. All they really have for it is consistent IR data and DFT calculations, which given the difficulty in characterization is probably more than sufficient but it would've been nice to see some temperature dependent isotopic NMR study to help quantify how dynamic the system actually is. The rest of the physical polymer characterization is outside of my area of study so I can't really comment on it but it looked throughout to me.

If I was reading the article correctly it is only the HDCN system that shows "self-healing" properties not the much more robust PHT system. This polymer would likely be more useful in the manufacturing process rather than consumer-side. Sorry this isn't the technology that'll let your phone piece itself back together again despite what the article my lead you to believe. It is however a nice step toward more easily recyclable materials. If they can get this to work on an industrial scale I would definitely see companies jumping on board as a cheaper method for manufacturing.

Side note one of the starting materials used for the synthesis (4,4'-oxydianiline) reminds me terribly of some bent cores within liquid crystal systems(or maybe 4 years at Kent State just has me seeing liquid crystals everywhere now...). Might be interesting to see if there could be some cross over between the two fields.

JoshuaMadoc:
There's no way this is research is going anywhere else. Corporations HATE progress.

Unless the corporation can get profit out of it.

That said, how long do you think before someone attempts to build a sex toy out this stuff?

I think I read this funny thing about synthetic stuff melting if they touch; thus coining the term, "Don't cross the dildos".

I eagerly await this being used for gameshows. American Ninja, you know what you have to do.

Ooh, real science. None of that silly astronomy that certain celebrities try to pass off as just as useful and important as chemical engineering.

P.S. Thanks

Adam Jensen:
Gotta love scientific accidents.

Unless they involve gamma radiation. We're just cautiously optimistic about those.

But then how else are we going to develop an army of Incredible Hulks?

Joking aside: gotta love accidents like this. I've heard plenty of amazing things we invented out of pure accident.

Like Coca-Cola, for example.

marioandsonic:
Joking aside: gotta love accidents like this. I've heard plenty of amazing things we invented out of pure accident.

I question whether or not the word "accident" is justified here. I mean, the doctors were there "experimenting with the creation of high-performance materials" and then she discovers a new one? I mean, if an explorer goes out exploring and discovers a new continent does that constitute as an "accident?" Personally, I don't think so, but everyone has their own opinion, I guess.

OMG! Does no one else see where this is headed?

image

Oh this wasn't an accident, we just had enough research points to unlock the next level in the tech tree.

Bah, bloody IBM. Another tech company accidentally creating revolutionary materials that could have far reaching benefits to many industries. It's irresponsible I tell you. I'm sick and tired of all these scientific breakthroughs that have so many benefits in the fields of science, engineering and transport amongst others, making the world better and opening up new avenues of research for future scientists.

I hope the scientists can sleep at night. I don't know how they could live with themselves after making such a beneficial discovery that could have massive positive impacts on the environment, cost of manufacturing and revolutionise many industries. It's shameful.

Steve Waltz:

marioandsonic:
Joking aside: gotta love accidents like this. I've heard plenty of amazing things we invented out of pure accident.

I question whether or not the word "accident" is justified here. I mean, the doctors were there "experimenting with the creation of high-performance materials" and then she discovers a new one? I mean, if an explorer goes out exploring and discovers a new continent does that constitute as an "accident?" Personally, I don't think so, but everyone has their own opinion, I guess.

Hey, Binot Paulmier de Gonneville and Brazil. Or more fittingly Janszoon and Australia. Experimenting with a high-performance material doesn't mean the researcher was looking for something that could heal; that would be the accident, like someone experimenting with microwave radiation finding that food can be cooked through it.

 

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