Inspired by the film Terminator 2: Doomsday, a group of scientists from the United States Army is developing material with the ability to heal and change shape, according to a statement released last Monday (17).
In the feature film released in 1991 and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the villain is the T-1000 robot, which manages to heal itself after suffering different types of attacks and changing its appearance and shape. The material the researchers are creating has characteristics similar to those found in Robert Patrick’s character.
According to Frank Gardea, an aerospace engineer at the Combat Capabilities Development Command Research Laboratory, the new substance will initially be used in improvements to military platforms and could help in the creation of self-repairing unmanned aerial and robotic vehicles, for example.
Produced based on 3D printed epoxy, the material responds to temperature and light stimuli, but the proposal is to increase this activation range. In addition, scientists intend to incorporate some type of intelligence so that the product can adapt to the environment without any external control.
First successful tests
The project, developed in partnership with Texas A&M University, is still in its infancy, but the results obtained with the flexible polymer have already excited scientists. From now on, they begin to work on the introduction of new activation behaviors and multiple responses and intend to better explore the memory capacity of the substance, which can be programmed to return to a certain form after suffering some type of stimulus.
Developing “dynamic bonds that allow material to change from liquid to solid several times” is another challenge, according to Gardea.