Slightly-tweaked microbe could create plastics from a common plant waste material

Lignin’ on a dream!

Polymer paint passively cools down any surface

The paint can cool buildings by as much as 6°C compared to the surroundings.

Novel material can change under the right light, to be either strong or self-healing

Neat trick.

Stretchy, bendy electronic circuits paves way to new wearable tech, bioimplants

They’re bending the rules!

Renewable flip flops: scientists produce the “No. 1” footwear in the world from algae

Walk a mile in these shoes.

Your phone’s case and your car’s tires may soon be made from renewable, plant sugars


Adding fibers to hydrogel, a soft material mostly made of water, makes it 5 times tougher than steel

By adding fibers, scientists have turned a soft gel into a material tougher than many metals.

Additive recycles incompatible mixed plastics into uber-polymer

It overcomes a major hurdle in plastic recycling.

Chocolate-inspired technique helps researchers develop better polymer shells

For centuries, chocolatiers have been trying to develop the perfect chocolate coating for bonbons, honing their skill to the point of artistic performance. But scientists believe they can take things even further.

Novel polymer changes shape just by touching with a finger — lifts 1,000 times its own weight doing so

This polymer can change shape and release tremendous amounts of stored elastic energy relative to its weight simply by being exposed to a temperature change. This in itself isn’t exactly new, but the team led by Chemical Engineering Professor Mitch Anthamatten at the University of Rochester innovated by making the polymer react to room temperature — a first.

MIT polymer paves the way for solar-heated clothes

MIT scientists have developed a material that can absorb solar energy, stores and release it on demand to produce heat. Made from a film of polymer, the material could be used to used to tailor cold climate garments that charge up during the day and keep you pleasantly warm in the evening.

Self-healing bioplastic stitches itself back together when water is added

When your plastic device breaks, there’s basically nothing else to do but shrug, try to glue it then go on with your life. But wouldn’t it be useful if the plastic itself could fix itself? Let me illustrate with the latest creation to come off the Pennsylvania State University lab: a bioplastic containing a novel mix of proteins derived from squid sucker ring teeth that can fuse back together when water is added. Once its ‘healed’, the bulk bioplastic return to its previous compression and tensile strength, so its not fragile.

New Silicone Technology Creates Super Slippery, Anti-Bacterial Surface

A new liquid-infused polymer can make sure that medical equipment is bacteria free by being extremely slippery. This technology, which involves silicone infused with a silicone oil also has a myriad of potential applications outside of medical equipment – in the oil industry, in air planes and cosmetics.

Gel contracts like muscle and stores light energy

Researchers at the Université de Strasbourg made a polymer gel that is able to contract similar to how a muscle concentrates motor proteins to elicit motion. The contraction occurs under the influence of light, but besides contraction, the gel also stores some of the absorbed light.

Expanding Brain Samples to Better See Them

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way to enlarge and map brain samples. This inexpensive technique will now allow scientists to get a much closer look at the human brian and perhaps figure out some of its long standing secrets.

Touch invisibility cloak prevents objects from being felt

In the past years, several types of invisibility cloaks have been developed, hiding objects not only from light, but also from sound and even heat. But this is the first time an invisibility cloak for touch has been developed. Recently, we’ve written quite a lot about invisibility cloaks – how they work, how they can be improved, and what real life

A first step towards making ‘plastic’ semiconductors for stretchy-electronics

Stanford chemical engineers have developed a theoretical model that sheds light on the electrical conductivity properties of polymers. Their work provides a valuable first step for other researchers to build on, providing an experimental setting for those looking to expand the electrical conductivity of certain polymers (typically plastics) for use in the industry. The word “polymer” is derived from the

New anti-fragile plastic becomes stronger every time it’s stressed

Say hello to drop-proof smartphones and whole new generation of plastic products that will be far more durable and strong than their present counterparts. Scientists at Duke University recently unveiled their most recent, stunning work: a new type of polymer that seems to contradict common knowledge and re-arranges its chemical structure each time its under stress, say a mechanical shock.

Science ABC: Hippos red sweat

Ever since the days of the ancient Greek, people were puzzled by the fact that apparently, hippos sweat blood; this belief propagated for more than a millenium. Now, we know that the thick red substance, which oozes from glands all over its skin, is one of the hippo’s many ingenious survival tools. Thing is, hippos are very routine-dependent animals: they

Self-assembling polymer increases HDD memory capacity by a factor of five

Data storage has reached great heights in the past two decades. You can now fit in a typical PC hard-drive thousands of CDs and millions of floppy disks (who else remembers these?). However, magnetic hard drive developers have almost reached the physical limit to where they can cram up data. Researchers at University of Texas at Austin  used a novel technique