Casting things in a new light makes them brand new again.
With the amount of disposable culture around nowadays it might appear we’re not that bothered about our personal effects, but dismay still tends to be the universal reaction when a favoured floor or car door suffers an unsightly scratch.But what if our precious surfaces could be protected with a coating which only needs light in order to heal itself?
That’s the tantalising prospect offered by recent research from the University of Case Western. The polymer designed by the team is molecularly manufactured in such a way that it only requires UV light to knit itself back into it’s original unscratched form. Or in other words:
“Ultraviolet light is absorbed by the sticky end groups of our new supramolecular polymers, converted into heat, and the supramolecular structures disassemble into the small building blocks from which they were made.”
With sleek lacquered surfaces becoming increasingly desirable in digital domains we might also see this coating adorning the personal electronics devices of the near future.