The most common type of self-healing material currently is a plastic that has small capsules of epoxy resin, a glue-like substance, which solidifies after any damage to the material. Some of these are even made from renewable plastics. This is are already in use in some industries, while more sophisticated techniques are developing in the lab.
Bioplastics have been a hopeful alternative to petroleum-based plastics for some time now, but this new advancement, self-healing plastics, will outdo the competition. Researchers at Iowa State University are developing multifunctional renewable polymers, and they are not alone in the pursuit. Scientists at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute are developing self-healing plastic inspired by the rubber tree.