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Researchers develop nanotubes to help circuits repair themselves

Burned-out electronic circuits may soon be able to self-repair tiny cracks or breaks in their circuitry with the help of nanotubes, according to new research.

Burned-out electronic circuits may soon be able to self-repair tiny cracks or breaks in their circuitry with the help of nanotubes, according to new research.

In collaboration with the Department of Energy, scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed capsules that can hold conductive nanotubes to be placed on circuit boards.

By using certain polymers for the capsules -- such as those that respond to mechanical stress or chemical changes -- they could break open and release the nanotubes, which could patch the circuit gap.

self-healing materials for batteries. It should also be possible to select capsule polymers that respond to chemical changes such as corrosion, he says.

The development could help in lithium-ion batteries found in mobile phones and laptop computers, which can cause fires when circuits inside fail.

It could also help in situations where circuits can't easily be manually repaired, such as in space or the deep sea.

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PopSci has previously examined self-healing materials, ranging from rubber to remixed concrete and paint. But self-repairing electronic devices could represent one of the best steps yet.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com