Three days ago, IBM announced the discovery of a whole new class of polymer based ‘plastics’ that’s stronger than bone, has the ability to self-heal, is lightweight, and is 100% recyclable. And given the vast consumer potential for these new types of polymers, this could quite literally redefine almost every industry.
Interestingly, this new type of plastic was not discovered by scientists, but was instead discovered by IBM’s supercomputers. Affectionately called polyhexahydrotriazine, or PHT, one of the most exciting features of this polymer is that it’s 100% recyclable, leading to significantly less waste piling up in landfills and entangling marine life.
The self-healing capability of these polymers is also intriguing, reminiscent of living, organic compounds. Perhaps if and when computers become self-aware and decide to destroy mankind sometime in the near future, those T-1000’s could be made from plastic rather than molten metal, making for our demise much less weighty.
For more information on how these polymers work, check out IBM’s video on its latest discovery: