Self-repairing 3D-printed shoes and tires
Why not let your cracked toys or broken boots fix themselves instead of throwing them away? Researchers from the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering developed 3D-printed materials that are capable of doing just that.
Qiming Wang, Assistant Professor, works with 3D printed materials to create new functions, ranging from flexible electronics and sound control. They have now created a material that is able repair itself if it gets punctured or fractured. This was done in collaboration with Viterbi Students Kunhao Yu and An Xin and University of Connecticut Assistant Prof. Ying Li. This material has the potential to revolutionize industries such as shoes, tires and soft robotics. It can also increase product durability.
Photopolymerization is used to manufacture the material using 3D printing. The process involves using light to solidify liquid resin into a desired geometry or shape. They had to dig deeper into the material’s chemistry in order to make it self-healing.