Feeds

IBM accidentally invents new class of polymers

Self-healing substances are said to be lighter and stronger than current plastics

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

IBM says its research arm accidentally invented the first new class of polymers the world has known for decades.

Detailed here in a paper titled Recyclable, Strong Thermosets and Organogels via Paraformaldehyde Condensation with Diamines, the newly-discovered polymers were the result of an accident that saw IBM researcher Jeannette M. Garcia forget to add one ingredient during some lab work. That happy error led the compound she was working on to become hard.

Further investigation showed the resulting compound was a “strong thermosetting polymer”, a substance that forms during heating. As explained in the video below, the chemicals formed in this way possess the useful quality of being self-healing: if you split a piece of the polymer and bring it back into contact with its sibling, the bonds will restore to their original strength.

IBM says the new polymers are also lighter and stronger than existing materials. They also dissolve in liquids where pH <2, which means a possibility of recycling the materials.

Big Blue admits this stuff is not likely to bound out of the lab any week now, but as it relies on newly-discovered compounds that are formed in, and see their component chemicals bond in, new ways, they're jolly excited about future possibilities.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.