New Electronic Material Can Heal Itself, Works Even After It’s Cut In Half

Just like a living thing, this material can heal itself after injury.

5. 30. 16 by Jelor Gallego
Jetpen
Image by Jetpen

The thing with electronics is that, even with all the possible applications in the world, technological devices have a tendency to break easy. That is precisely why self-healing electronics are being developed. But those typically heal only in one or two aspects—electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, or electrical resistance.

However, it seems that this is soon going to change. A new electronic material created by an international team can heal all its functions automatically, and remarkably, it can do so even after breaking multiple times.

This material could quite literally revolutionize the durability of wearable electronics.

Credit: Penn State

The material, created by Qing Wang, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State, and his team, restores all properties needed for use as a dielectric in wearable electronics (dielectrics are materials that insulate electric currents).

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Ultimately, it restores mechanical strength, breakdown strength to protect against surges, electrical resistivity, thermal conductivity and dielectric, or insulating, properties.

In the study published in Advanced Functional Materials, the team detailed adding boron nitride nanosheets to a base material of plastic polymer. Like graphene, boron nitride nanosheets are two dimensional; however, instead of conducting electricity like graphene, they resist and insulate against it.

“This is the first time that a self-healable material has been created that can restore multiple properties over multiple breaks, and we see this being useful across many applications,” said Wang in a press release.


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