MAY 10, 2014 10:12 AM PDT

Self-healing plastic oozes fluids to mimic blood clots

WRITTEN BY: Robert Woodard


If you prick it, does it not bleed? Puncture this plastic and it will heal itself with oozing fluids, in a process that mimics the way blot clots form to repair wounds. The plastic could one day be used to automatically patch holes in distant spacecraft or repair fighter jets on the fly.

So far, efforts to develop materials that fix themselves the way biological tissue mends itself have been limited. Scott White at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his colleagues developed one of the first versions in 2001, but that material could only heal microscopic cracks.

Now his team have created a plastic lined with a type of artificial vascular system that can heal damage large enough to be visible to the naked eye.
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