At a glance 1 min

Vitrimers, revolutionary new plastic materials

Vitrimers, revolutionary new plastic materials
Vitrimers, revolutionary new plastic materials

So far, there have been no strong organic materials which, when hardened, can be reworked to take any shape in the same way as glass. 
The team headed by Ludwik Leibler, CNRS researcher at the "Soft Materials and Chemistry" Laboratory (CNRS / ESPCI ParisTech) and Associate Professor at ESPCI, has now developed precisely such materials.

Given the generic name of "vitrimers", they can be, depending on their composition,  either elastic and soft, or strong and hard. They are lightweight, durable, insoluble, reversibly malleable at will, repairable and recyclable when heated. "These properties mean we can get objects of forms that are difficult or impossible to obtain by moulding or for which making a mould would be too costly for the production envisaged."

Using these vitrimers, a surfboard profile could to be changed, scratches on a car bonnet removed by heating, and plastic or rubber objects repaired or welded. But there are many other applications: "When used as a substrate of a composite material, these new materials could have the edge over metals and find a wide range of applications in areas as diverse as electronics, car manufacturing, construction, aeronautics and printing.”

More information
www.cnrs.fr
 

If you enjoyed this article, you'll love the next!
  • Self-healing plastic
    At a glance 1 min
    Self-healing plastic

    Inspired by the human circulatory system, a research team at the University of Illinois has developed a polymer that allows plastic to regenerate after being damaged. This high-tech plastic is compos...

  • Can microbes degrade plastic?
    At a glance 1 min
    Can microbes degrade plastic?

    Project BIOCLEAN carries out research into biotechnologies to degrade and detoxify plastics in marine environments, landfills and digesters until 2015. A few years ago, a surprising observation was m...

  • Caddie bounces back with plastic shopping trolleys
    At a glance 1 min
    Caddie bounces back with plastic shopping trolleys

    Caddie means to continue driving innovation in modernising shopping trolleys. Its new hybrid model now being delivered to stores was designed with this in mind. Dubbed "Caddie et Motion" (say “trolle...