A material has been discovered by NASA that can instantly fix itself when punctured by a bullet, making self-healing plastics, like the ones seemingly used on the T-1000 in the second Terminator film, a reality.
In the material there are two layers of a solid polymer which have a liquid sandwiched in between them. On getting punctured a normal liquid would simply leak out of the puncture, but the researchers added a compound known as formulated resin. The compound is reactive to oxygen. After a puncture when the liquid is exposed to atmospheric oxygen, it instantly initiates polymerization and changes to solid form.
IFLScience told, “Within seconds of coming into contact with the atmosphere, it goes from a liquid to a solid,” Scott Zavada, lead author of the study.
But, since we are talking about NASA and not Skynet so there are no plans to use this material for the creation of a real-life Terminator (that we are aware of).
Instead NASA is planning to use this material to cover spaceships for the protection of astronauts from accidents, puncturing the spacecraft and exposing them to the fatal conditions of outer space. However oxygen is not present in space, oxygen would leak out of the spacecraft from the hole and would react with the liquid, instantly repairing the opening.
The material is very light thus it will be most suitable for use in spacecrafts. During the research, the panels were only one millimeter thick, but as per the researchers the structure would allow for panels that were hundreds of microns thin.