'Self-healing' plastic developed

A new plastic that heals itself when cut or scratched has been developed, and scientists reckon it could be used on cars in the future.

Researchers in the US developed the plastic, which changes from clear to red along the damage line, mirroring what happens to human skin.

The plastic works by reacting to light and other factors - mending broken molecular "bridges" to heal itself.

The scientists who developed the plastic think that one day it could be used to provide self-healing surfaces for cars. But with or without such revolutionary materials,car insurance cover is still an essential requirement for all drivers.

Lead researcher Professor Marek Urban, from the University of Southern Mississippi, said: "Mother Nature has endowed all kinds of biological systems with the ability to repair themselves.

"Some we can see, like the skin healing and new bark forming in cuts on a tree trunk. Some are invisible, but help keep us alive and healthy, like the self-repair system that DNA uses to fix genetic damage to genes.

"Our new plastic tries to mimic nature, issuing a red signal when damaged and then renewing itself when exposed to visible light, temperature or pH changes."

Copyright Press Association 2012