Self-Healing Rubber Sticks Back Together

February 22, 2008

Ludwik Leibler is a chemistry professor in Paris that has created an artificial rubber substance that can stick back together with the same strength it had prior to being cut. The unnamed material is made in an earth-friendly manner from vegetable oil and urea (the stuff in urine that makes it delicious).

Break a rubber and the chemical welds - known as covalent bonds - are also broken. The trick was to replace the covalent bonds in rubber with weaker connections known as hydrogen bonds. These are like hands on neighboring molecules that can clasp together, but let go when broken. Dr Leibler quickly realized that this meant not only that the new rubber could be recycled and remolded many times over, but that if separated by a cut or break, the chemical hands at the fresh surfaces would still be waving about ready to bind again.

Now let me tell you, covalent bonds aren't the only things severed when rubbers break. No sir. Your whole life can get split apart. You know what I'm talking about don't you? I'm talking about accidentally having kids. And don't believe that baloney "the stork brings them to your house" nonsense either, it isn't true. That's just a lie your parents told you so they wouldn't have to say the word vagina.

Self-healing rubber bounces back [bbcnews]

Thanks to Frankie, who is both wild and crazy, for the tip

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