Self Healing Polyurea Of The Future: Elastic Polymers Heal at Molecular Level After Cut

Scientists create an inexpensive self-healing polymer

Building semiconductors, orthopedic implants, and hydrogen fuel cells are just a few of the potential uses of a polymer created in the lab of a materials science and scientific engineering team at the University of Illinois. This university scientific team created the Hindered Polyurea material two years ago. Still, the team of undergraduates recently discovered that its sacrificial properties give it added commercial appeal in addition to its self-healing qualities.

They call the new polymer a ‘Hindered’ polyurea because they put a different functional group to the existing urea chemistry to make it so. It’s this ‘hinderedness’ that makes it dynamic.

The team is now set to commercialize the technology, focusing first on the sacrificial properties of the polymer: the fact that the urea bond is stable at room temperature but vaporizes when heated to 150 degrees Celsius.

The technology is especially useful when you want to create empty channels inside of bulk materials. They realized the technology could solve many of the existing problems in fabrication.

In manufacturing semiconductors, for instance, there needs to be channeled within the circuitry. Using their technology, the semiconductor would be layered around the polymer then heated up, causing the Hindered Polyurea material to vaporize and leaving holes inside the semiconductor.

While a similar method is currently employed in this kind of fabrication, the common materials used, such as polystyrene or polycarbonate, need to be heated up to 400 degrees Celsius and leave behind a residue that can cause other complications.

This technology is not revolutionizing the concept, but it’s an evolution – the next step forward for getting the process to be cleaner and cheaper. The existing degradable materials need a higher temperature to vaporize, severely limiting what exterior materials you can use. You need a strong original base for other materials, but it’s much easier for their material.

Another application targeted for the technology is titanium orthopedic implants.

One issue doctors face is that if you make the artificial joint out of a solid block of titanium with welding edges and other imperfections from putting separate sections together, the body recognizes it as a foreign object and might reject it. If you make it porous, like a honeycomb structure, the osteoblast cells from your bone go inside the titanium material and incorporate it into the bone in a process called osseointegration. They start developing their structures within those pores.

Yet another application is the production of hydrogen fuel cells, which might be highly in demand for future power automobiles.

Channels within each fuel cell are needed to allow liquid to flow through convection cooling to lower the battery’s temperature.

Although the team focuses on sacrificial applications at the onset, the group certainly sees many future applications for Hindered Polyurea as a self-healing material, especially in structures that see a lot of fatigue and stress, such as bridges and fuel tanks.

A lot of self-healing materials need some catalyst to work. This groups technology self heals at room temperature. The traditional Polyurea material is very stable and strong, which is good, but there isn’t much dynamicity.

Polymer regenerates all by itself | Research | Chemistry World

Hindered Polyurea is one of 18 finalists in the Cozad New Venture Challenge, sponsored by the University of Illinois Technology Entrepreneur Center. They will make their final pitches to judges as part of the Entrepreneurship Forum on April 28 at the Illini Union. The team is still in the material development stage, prototyping some empty channels and integrating them into some existing products. It uses Cozad to determine the niche market, narrow the specific target applications, and develop a business plan.

Cozad allowed them to find the right questions to ask. First, it narrowed down what research they needed to do from a commercialization perspective. Secondly, it allowed them to get their name out there.

So far, they have found this material to be cheaper, more efficient, and cleaner than other competitors. The difference in all three of those segments between their technology and existing materials is big enough that if they can get to a level of scale and market it, They think it would be adopted and would change many industries.

self eating

Scientists have developed a new synthetic plastic that could potentially solve our ever-growing plastics problem.

Plastic. Humanity is producing more and more every single day. The problem is, once it’s made, it sticks around….forever. It is currently very difficult to break down plastic bottles into their chemical constituents to make new ones from old ones, meaning more new plastic is being created from oil each year.

But now, scientists from UC Berkeley have produced a new form of plastic that consumes itself.

You read that right!
It eats itself!

This is the plastic when it’s produced. And this is what it looks like just three days later after it has been treated. The new plastic is manufactured with an enzyme that reacts when exposed to water and heat, causing it to begin breaking itself down.
The super-enzyme, derived from bacteria that naturally developed the ability to eat plastic, enables the full recycling of the bottles. Scientists believe merging it with enzymes that break down cotton could also allow mixed-fabric clothing to be recycled. Today, millions of tons of such clothing are either dumped in landfills or incinerated.

The super-enzyme was engineered by linking two separate enzymes, both found in the plastic-eating bug discovered at a Japanese waste site in 2016. The researchers revealed an engineered version of thefirst enzyme in 2018, which started breaking down the plastic in a few days. But the super-enzyme gets to work six times quicker.
This is a trajectory towards trying to make faster enzymes that are more industrially relevant. But it’s also one of those stories about learning from nature and then bringing it into the lab.

If you were worried about plastic-based clothes like polyesters melting off you while exercising, don’t. The material can withstand short exposures to heat and slight dampness.



Why should I apply a clear topcoat to my garage floor coating?

This is an understandable question that pops up from time to time for the typical house owner wanting to save some cash. The real concern, nevertheless, ought to be, why would not you apply a clear coat? After all, there are many benefits to adding a clear topcoat over the garage floor’s color coat.

Anybody who has installed a garage floor coating correctly will tell you that the most laborious and time-consuming part is prepping the floor for the coating. Using the coating goes fast, and for numerous, it is the fun part of the job. So, after all that work of getting the concrete all set, why wouldn’t you want to invest a little bit more time and money to guarantee a longer-lasting and even more stunning floor coating?

With multiple clear coating options to select from, epoxy, polyaspartic, and polyurethane are the most typical choices. The exact same benefits can apply to making use of all three mentioned floor finishes. So to respond to these questions, let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons that you should apply a clear topcoat to your garage floor.


A clear coat will add sturdiness to your garage floor coating and make for a longer wearing surface. The additional coat also includes thickness to the floor coating, removing hot tire lift and soaking up effects better.


Due to the fact that the clearcoat functions as a sacrificial layer, the epoxy color coat will be secured. Without it, the colored epoxy coat can lose its radiance from wear. Though resistant to the majority of chemicals, some oil spills or leakages allowed to sit for long periods can blemish the coating depending on the quality of epoxy you applied.


If you used paint chips or color flakes to your floor, the clear coat would safeguard them from peeling up and collecting dirt. Considering that the color flakes are partially embedded into the epoxy, dirt and grime can gather in and around the flakes’ edges, making it more difficult to keep tidy depending on the number of colors flake was applied.

Cleaning of the floor and other activities can likewise trigger color flakes to bring up or chip away. When a clear coat is added, the color flakes are protected by the clear layer over them.


With a clear coat over the color flakes, the floor is likewise much easier to clean up. Dust mops can slide over the floor without capturing color flakes as it goes. This is particularly true if you have heavy flake protection on your floor. It likewise enables aggressive scrubbing if essential without the worry of losing color flakes or dulling the color coat.


The additional layer of a clear leading coat includes depth to the appearance of the garage floor. This creates a richer looking surface that appears more luxurious and much thicker than it is.


Depending upon which kind of clear coat you select, the clear will include a shiny shine to the floor that will reflect light much better than the color coat. Polyurethane finishes are sometimes offered in different levels of gloss.

This is a great choice for projects in the garage or working on cars merely because it develops more light. It might also indicate that you will not have to incorporate more overhead lighting like you believed you may require.


All garage floor finishings will develop microscopic and in some cases bigger scratches on the surface of the coating. A clear topcoat helps conceal or camouflage most of these scratches, so they are less noticeable and do not detract from the floor’s looks. This is because the clear leading coat will function as the sacrificial layer and prevents the color coat from being damaged.


Anti-slip ingredients are concealed better in a clear coat. Because a lot of additives are translucent in color, they will not stand apart. Without a clear topcoat, they are contributed to the color coat rather. This makes the anti-slip granules a lot more noticeable as little bumps resembling sandpaper on the garage floor.


After several years of use, an epoxy garage floor coating can start to show its age depending upon how much activity it has seen. If it had a clear topcoat of epoxy or polyurethane, it might easily be roughed up with sandpaper and have a brand-new coat of clear used.

The old topcoat’s sanding removes any acnes, scratches, and other flaws that the floor coating obtained throughout the years. As soon as the new clear coat is used, your garage floor coating will look brand new once again.


When you compare a color layered epoxy garage floor with a top coat of clear to one that does not, there is no question about which looks better. The clear coat is what provides the garage floor that extra depth and showroom shine that screams, “take a look at me!”

So if you’re on the fence about whether or not to add a clear topcoat to your garage floor coating, consider all the benefits it will provide in the long term. Yes, it will cost a bit more money, and yes, it may indicate another day of being without your garage. However, as soon as you do, you will be rewarded with a garage floor to be happy with for several years to come, and you will be glad that you did it.

If you are unsure of what type of topcoat to incorporate into your floor project, we recommend going with a product called ArmorFloor. Its produced by ArmorThane and is a two-part polyaspartic. To learn more about using this product, check out this article on applying it.