Self-healing plastic lets gadgets take a licking and keep on ticking
Here’s a good way to cut down on waste: Stop breaking sh*t. To that end, scientists are working on self-healing materials that can extend the life of your belongings. One new polymer, developed by scientists in Switzerland, can heal deep scratches just by being exposed to ultraviolet light. It's like an immune system for your gadgets.
Thanks to metal ions embedded in the plastic, UV light heats and melts it a tiny bit, just enough for it to fill in scratches and cracks. Right now, it only works when the material is thin enough to be translucent — the display of your cell phone, say. But this is still pretty cool, and a useful new frontier in reducing the amount of stuff we throw away.