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'Self-healing' coating piques U.S interest

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Fribourg, Switzerland (UPI) May 24, 2011
U.S. and Swiss scientists say they have developed a polymer-based coating that can heal itself when placed under ultraviolet light for less than a minute.

The "metallo-supramolecular" polymer coating has garnered interest from many parties, including the U.S military, reported.

"For the moment it's still at the basic research level," Christoph Weder, director of Fribourg University's Adolphe Merkle Institute, said. "We are not looking to develop products for the market but concepts and tools that can then develop commercially viable materials. That's the way our [nanoscience] institute functions."

He declined to comment on the U.S. military's particular interest in the material.

"I don't want to speculate on their interest in supporting this particular project, but the people involved were really devoted to basic research," said Weder, a Swiss professor of polymer chemistry and materials who has worked for many years in the United States.

The new material has many potential practical applications from tactile computer screens to everyday consumer items like cars, floors and furniture that get easily scratched.

"This is ingenious and transformative materials research," said Andrew Lovinger, polymers program director at the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Division.

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