Plastics are everywhere in our daily lives. The problem is that when plastic products break, we generally have two choices. One is to throw it out, which is not the best solution, because most plastics take forever to breakdown in the environment. The second is to try and glue it together; gluing is never a fun prospect, and not all plastics can be glued effectively.
Researchers at the University of Illinois have bypassed the problem altogether by creating a self-healing plastic. The amazing thing is that it is made from off-the-shelf materials. In addition, while other self-healing polymers require adjuncts like UV light or other catalysts in the healing process, this material just requires that the two halves of the part get put back together again. Within 24 hours, the part is as good as new!
(All photos are from The University of Illinois Video)