TECH
24/09/2015 08:30 BST | Updated 24/09/2015 08:59 BST

Scientists Discover How To Turn Rubber Into 'Self-Healing' Material

Flat tyres could soon be a thing of the past. Scientists have found a way to turn rubber into a "self-healing" material.

New research published in the journal of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, outlines how the addition of carbon and nitrogen help broken chemical bonds reform of their own accord.

In practical terms, this could mean our punctured car tyres will simply mend themselves without a mechanic ever needing to lift a finger.

flat tire

Rubber is made of long strands of molecules and when your tire is punctured, these strands break.

Traditionally, manufacturers add sulphur to ensure that rubber is durable and elastic - a process known a vulcanisation.

However, adding carbon/nitrogen into the mix instead of the normal vulcanisation process, allows these bonds to reform and "heal" the rubber.

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The team, consisting of researchers from Germany and Finland, showed that a cut in the material was fixed at room temperature, the American Chemical Society reports.

selhealing rubber

They also found that the process did not diminish the rubber's durability.

After eight days, the "self-healing" material was able to withstand 754 pounds per square inch.