This smart rubber can self-mend itself

Smart rubber promises self-mending products

Self-healing rubber that binds back together after being snapped or punctured could pave the way for self-healing shoes, fan belts,washing-up gloves and more. "You can feel the material mending itself when you hold the fractured sides together," inventor Ludwik Leibler told New Scientist. "It's a very strange feeling."

Whenthe material melds together again, it has just as much strength as it had before, says Leibler, a polymer chemist at the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (ESPCI) in Paris, France.See the material self-healing in the video top right.

The material could eventually make it a cinch to repair holes in shoes,snapped fan belts and punctured kitchen gloves. It might also make strange new products possible: for instance bags that can be ripped open and then resealed. "You don't need a zip when you can make a resealable hole in it," Leibler says.

Source: technology.newscientist.comAdded: 25 February 2008