BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have developed a temperature sensitive material which can be used in 3D printing, Science and Technology Daily reported Tuesday.
"The new material has both mechanical strength and self-healing properties," said Li Chenghui, associate professor at the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of Nanjing University.
The material has outstanding temperature sensitivities allowing it to be easily shaped when heated. It turns into a viscous liquid when heated to 120 degrees Celsius, and quickly forms a rigid solid when cooled.
The polymer not only exhibits quick thermal-healing properties, but is also advantageous for various applications such as 3D printing and casts for broken bones.
A traditional orthopedic cast requires several hours to set, while the new material takes shape in several minutes. In addition, it is light, water resistant, breathable, and recyclable.
The researchers have applied for several invention patents for the self-healing material.