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Friday, May 16, 2014
Researchers Discover New 'Self-healing' Industrial Polymers

Scientists at IBM's Research lab in Almaden, CA have successfully demonstrated a new class of self-healing and super-strong polymer materials that could transform manufacturing and fabrication in the fields of transportation, aerospace, and microelectronics.

Through the approach of combining high performance computing with synthetic polymer chemistry, the scientists discovered a new class of polymers that are resistant to cracking, stronger than bone, can reform to its original shape (self-heal), and completely recyclable. Also, these materials can be transformed into new polymer structures to further bolster their strength by 50% - making them ultra strong and lightweight. This could impact almost every industry looking to innovate across engineering, product design and spur new technologies.

The IBM scientists say that this is the first distinctly new family that has been discovered in several decades.

The materials are not yet ready for commercial use, but the scientists said they had already begun working with several universities on composite applications that could have a significant impact on manufacturing and fabrication in the fields of transportation, aerospace and microelectronics.

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