In the military, gliders are a much-desired method for scouting and stealth operations. But when they become captured or accidentally crash during a mission, these devices can be taken apart, revealing intelligence or technology-related information to the enemy.
A team of material scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a self-destructing polymer that spontaneously disintegrates upon exposure to sunlight or artificial light. They embedded the polymer with a photo-activating catalyst that promotes depolymerization. What's more, by adding different additives, the researchers can make it rigid (good for gliders or sensors), or elastic (suited for the fabric of parachutes).
Military applications aside, it will be interesting to see if this self-destructing polymer finds its way to civilian uses, as an alternative material to produce any single-use plastic items.
This work will be presented at an American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting later this week.
Source: ACS via Youtube
Featured image: Pixabay