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.”
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