Science News and Carnegie Mellon University – Many natural organisms have the ability to repair themselves. Now, manufactured machines will be able to mimic this property. In findings published this week in Nature Materials, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have created a self-healing material that spontaneously repairs itself under extreme mechanical damage.
This soft-matter composite material is composed of liquid metal droplets suspended in a soft elastomer. When damaged, the droplets rupture to form new connections with neighboring droplets and reroute electrical signals without interruption. Circuits produced with conductive traces of this material remain fully and continuously operational when severed, punctured, or had material removed.
Applications for its use include bio-inspired robotics, human-machine interaction, and wearable computing. Because the material also exhibits high electrical conductivity that does not change when stretched, it is ideal for use in power and data transmission.