Professor’s invention rates as one of '5 Materials That Could Change the World' | Schools
It’s the stuff of dreams that became a reality in a University of Southern Mississippi laboratory.
Inspired by his own dream of a technology now considered revolutionary in the world of plastics research, polymer science professor Marek Urban developed a unique type of plastic material that turns red or “bleeds” when damaged.
When the damage occurs, or when stressors mount that portend damage to the material, the molecule links that span along chains of chemicals within the material split and release a color simulating bleeding. After exposure to sunlight or change in temperature, the material begins repairing itself in much the same way human skin does.
“I dreamed of developing this after thinking about how human skin repairs itself when damaged, and how blood coming from the injury works as a sign of that damage,” Urban said. “Sometimes, damage to material may not be visible to the human eye, but with the release of the colors that mimic bleeding we have a warning of damage.”
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