Seems like we may have a means of weaning ourselves off oil. At least plastics made from oil.
The research from the University of Tokyo, published in Nature, describes a new and better “plastic” brewed from clay, water, a thickening agent (sodium polyacrylate) and an organic “molecular glue.”
The end result is a super strong, self-healing, transparent and elastic hydrogel composed of 98 percent water and bound by supramolecular forces, otherwise known as “smart molecules.”
Better yet, the gel takes just 3 minutes to form, and making it requires no understanding of the chemical process involved, reports New Scientist:
“Toughness, self-healing and robustness are just some of the initial physical properties that will be found for this new class of materials,” Craig Hawker [of UCSB, not involved in the study] says. “I predict that this approach will lead to the design of even more impressive materials in the near future.”
This is big. Big enough to score an ultra-prestigious Nature publication. Maybe big enough to significantly change the future. Good old mud.