SCOTT WHITE / NATURE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT WHITE / NATURE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Self-healing plastic. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a fractured microcapsule in a self-repairing plastic. The plastic could be used in spacecraft or surgical implants that would otherwise be hard to repair. It is a polymer comp- osite made of reinforcing fibres and microcapsule- containing epoxy resin. Damage to the plastic ruptures the microcapsules, causing them to leak the repair fluid they hold. A catalyst in the resin converts the fluid into a tough solid poly- mer, allowing the plastic to regain 75 per cent of its original strength. The plastic was made by a team from the University of Illinois, USA, led by Scott White. Magnification: x490 at 6x7cm size.
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