Imagine concrete bridges that can heal cracks without human intervention. This is just one application for a category of smart materials that change and adapt to their environment.
Inspired by living things, they have the potential to transform the way we live. But more applications are on their way.
Professor Mark Miodownik said, “Bridges in the future are going to know they are damaged and then they are going to be able to do something about it.”
Other applications of self-healing materials are in phone screens that can repair themselves when cracked, and electronics that grow back damaged circuits, restoring function.
The professor noted clothing might also be a target for innovation, adding, “The question in my view is not, if it’s going to happen, it is when it’s going to happen. There are some fun applications – being able to change the shape of your garment, or change the colors so that they react to your mood.”