UV light heals scratched polymer paint in 30 seconds flat

Go ahead, get your car and your laptop and your sunglasses all scratched up. A new "metallo-supramolecular polymer" can switch from a solid coating to a liquid under UV light, magically repairing scratches in less than 30 seconds.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve have developed a special polymer that changes its structure when exposed to UV light. It's specifically intended to be used on stuff that people own, from cars to furniture to gadgets. The polymer is made up of lots of tiny molecular chains, held together with a glue of metallic ions. When you shine a UV light on it, the metallic ions stop acting like a glue, and the chains separate into a liquid that fills in any cracks. Take the light away and everything turns solid and smooth again.

This process happens fast enough that you can just wave a handheld light over the surface you want to fix and it'll be good as new in about 30 seconds. And because of the properties of the polymer, you're not "using up" its fixing power every time you do this: you can scratch the same spot over and over and it'll just keep fixing itself right up.

The good news is that from the sound of things, the researchers are already in talks with a few different companies to get this stuff into the commercial market as soon as possible. When exactly that's gonna be is anyone's guess, especially considering that we've heard about this kind of thing once or twice before, but hey, progress is progress.

Via Physorg

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