Rubber that can heal itself after being cut or broken could allow products to mend themselves (Video: Francois Tournilhac/Ludwik Leibler)
When the material melds together again, it has just as much strength as it had before, says Leibler, a polymer chemist at the Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (ESPCI) in Paris, France. See the material self-healing in the video top right.
The material is synthesised from fatty acids and urea, which are cheap and renewable. The downside is that getting rid of covalent and ionic bonding means the material is weaker than regular rubber.