I'm still replacing a bunch of the window tilt slide latches I mentioned in a previous entry. These troublesome little pieces of plastic can easily have their tips snapped off, like this...
...which then turns your aluminum double-hung sash window into a dangerous glass drawbridge. While the parts are only 85 cents, getting them out of the window frame is a frustrating, laborious and time-consuming process due to poor design: They're encased in such a way that you need to disassemble the top of the window frame, tapping it off the glass with a hammer and wooden block. After swapping the part out you've then got to get the window back together without cracking the glass, and trying to get the weatherstripping back in there is like trying to squeeze a size 36 waist into a size 28 pair of jeans.
Wouldn't it be nice if I could just find the broken tip, press it against the rest of the part, and have the thing magically heal itself, no disassembly required? Yes it would, and that's what makes this new materials breakthrough so exciting: Scientists at Spain's CIDETEC Centre for Electrochemical Technologies have created a freaking self-healing polymer, the world's first. No Krazy Glue or external catalysts required, just press the broken parts together and in a couple of hours you've got a new(ish) part. Check it out:
Amusingly, the scientists at CIDETEC—apparently Schwarzeneger fans—are informally calling the stuff the Terminator Polymer, "a tribute to the shape-shifting, molten T-1000 terminator robot from the Terminator 2 film."
Silly name or no, the stuff has a 97% healing efficiency. The team's next step will be to repeat the results with a more rigid, less Gummi-Bear-like materials blend.
Via Chemistry World