Star Wars gamechanger? Scientists create self-healing material plugging holes in spaceships

© American Chemical Society
A NASA-sponsored research produced a liquid compound that hardens in a matter of seconds after contacting air. It can be used to create self-sealing walls on aircraft, making punctures a less-threatening threat in space.

The resin must be put between a polymer sandwich to stay liquid. But once the walls are breached by something small and speedy – like a bullet or a flying piece of space debris – it reacts with oxygen and forms a clog.

While there is a number of materials with similar behavior, the new resin can do it faster than anything, say researchers from the University of Michigan, who published their findings in the American Chemical Society's ACS Macro Letters this week.

Less high-tech applications are also possible, like protecting fuel tanks or an aircraft hull from breach.