A self-healing material can repair itself with the help of carbon dioxide

Very often in science fiction works, you can see some high-tech materials, which after the damage to heal, if they themselves try to “cure”. Sounds and looks extremely unrealistic, because if the damage destroyed the bonds between the molecules and can’t be recovered. Or is it possible? The answer to this question gives a new material designed by MIT engineers. It can react with carbon dioxide from the ambient air in order to change the shape and even repair.

The test sample of the material puts a synthetic gel-like substances, the main of which is carbon. According to the editorial Board of the journal Advanced Materials, the process of self-healing is a process, something resembling photosynthesis. Only in this case, the carbon from carbon dioxide is to restore the damage of the material. In recognition of some of the authors Michael Strano and Seon-Von Kwak,

“This is a completely new word in science. Earlier we could not think that what we call carbon-containing materials that can transform carbon dioxide in the ambient air in solid, stable form, we will be able to use in real life.”

The development of such a synthetic material, which does not use fossil fuels has obvious benefits for the environment.

“Imagine a synthetic material that can grow as trees, getting carbon from carbon dioxide increasing and due to this their mass.”

Illustration of self-healing properties of new material. In the presence of light carbon from the air fills the void to repair damage

To develop his creation, the researchers used the chloroplasts (organic inclusions of plants, by which the process of photosynthesis), obtained from spinach leaves. But the problem is that isolated from cells chloroplasts for a long time to perform its function can not. So first the experts have extracted these inclusions to study processes and then were replaced by catalysts neurologically of nature performing the same function. The resulting gel matrix is composed of a polymer-based aminopropyldimethylamine (ARMA), glucose and glucose oxidase.

“One of the key advantages of the new material is that it will samoreguliruetsja when exposed to sunlight or artificial lighting. It is interesting to observe how it begins to grow. This material simulates some aspects of something that is living, despite the fact that it is not.”

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