Scientists make self-healing rubber

The most annoying thing when you drive is a flat tire. Imagine while driving your tire goes flat, but you don’t need to repair/change it. A team of scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research in Dresden, one of the largest polymer research facilities in Germany, have developed a new type of rubber that can heal itself after a tear or break.

In a case of damage, the links between molecules in the tire are broken. The conventional way to fix damaged tire is by adding sulfur or peroxide to renew the links between the molecules. This new type of tire (rubber) seems to avoid that. A modification of the chemical group (compounding it with fillers such as carbon black and silica for strength enhancement) of bromine-containing rubber can allow preparing elastomeric rubber composites without the use of sulfur or peroxide. The ionic association mediated cross-linking can offer a superior overall performance of the materials and a self-repairing effect is achieved. The development of the cross-linking nature of the rubbers without further use of cross-linking chemicals also reduces the number of rubber processing steps, meaning the cost of production is decreased.

The self-healing rubber is the latest attempt to create materials that repair themselves back together after damage. It’s a matter of time when self-healing tires will appear on the market.

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