Scientists from Sandia National Laboratories and Texas A&M University have discovered a self-healing metal in ground-breaking research that could potentially help structures such as bridges and airplanes self-heal themselves from any damage, among many other potential uses in the future . The possibilities are potentially endless.
When they made the discovery, the scientists were experimenting and studying how cracks formed and spread on a nanoscale using a specialized electron microscope technique. This is when they made their incredible discovery. While they were working, they noticed that some of the cracks that had formed managed to heal itself, with the end result appearing as though the crack had never been there in the first place. One of the scientists, Brad Boyce, expressed his amazement: “This was absolutely stunning to watch first-hand. What we have confirmed is that metals have their own intrinsic, natural ability to heal themselves, at least in the case of fatigue damage at the nanoscale."
In addition to these comments, another scientist who worked on the research, Khalid Hattar, associate professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, labeled the moment as “unprecedented insight.”
While research is ongoing, it is hoped that one day these self-healing metals could have real-world applications. For example, they could help to save money and self-repair vehicle parts and airplanes. However, this incredible discovery isn't the only advancement in this field. Just last year, in 2022, the American Institute developed a material stronger than steel. The material has potential to replace current, weaker materials and could be used on cell phones and even buildings.