IBM discovers fully recyclable, self-healing plastic


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.

Scanning electron microscope image of the new PHT polymer

Scanning electron microscope image of the new PHT polymer

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.

"See my eye? Yeah, that's 100% recyclable plastic that's healing, filthy human"

“See my eye? Yeah, that’s 100% recyclable plastic that’s healing, filthy human”

For more information on how these polymers work, check out IBM’s video on its latest discovery:

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A self-taught writer with some college (a nice way of saying that he didn't graduate), Nate fell in love with pocket billiards in his mid teens, and has spent more than half of his life as a student of the sport. Yes, it's a sport. He will argue incessantly if someone claims otherwise. He also loves video games, his favorite game being Dark Souls, followed by Dark Souls as a close second, and The Last of Us being his fourth favorite game (Dark Souls is his third favorite game). He has a tendency to ramble on when you strike up a conversation with him, so asking him for a short bio is a dangerously boring proposition and not recommended. Otherwise he tends to keep to himself. He is also an editor and founding member of Tech Gen Mag, living in southern California.