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IBM Discovers Revolutionary New Polymer That Heals Itself

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International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) scientists have discovered a new class of polymer that can revolutionize manufacturing in the aerospace, semiconductors, automobile and micro-electronics industries. In a paper published in the Science journal, IBM Almaden Research Center scientists said that the polymer, dubbed PHT, is stronger than bone, resistant to cracking, recyclable, and capable of self-healing.

IBM scientist invents PHT by accident

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) said adding PHT into the existing materials could improve its strength by more than 50%. Polymers have become an integral part of out daily lives. They are used in cars, aeroplanes, paints, plastic bottles, food packaging and hundreds of other things. IBM claims that PHT is much stronger than any existing polymer. It’s lightweight, but has the strength of metal.

Despite its immense application potential, the polymer was an accidental discovery. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) scientist Jeannette Garcia was creating an already known polymer material that has high strength. But she forgot to include one ingredient. The resulting material was something entirely different from what Garcia thought it would be. She actually had to break the test tube to get the material out. And then she found that it was indestructible.

IBM used ‘computational chemistry’ to accelerate the process

Then International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) scientists used the “computational chemistry” to accelerate the creation process of PHT. IBM Research scientist James Hendrick noted that computation facilitates accelerated materials discovery, and helps researchers predict how molecules would respond to chemical reactions.

Materials created with PHT will have the ability to self-heal. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) said that pieces that are severed are capable of recreating their previous bonds in just a few seconds when placed next to each other. IBM says it will be useful in a number of industries, especially in adhesive gels, which can be used to repair microprocessors and other small electronics.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) shares were little changed in pre-market trading Friday at $186.40.

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