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'Magic Glue' Could Provide Quick Reversible Bonding in Auto Body Shop


Researchers at the American Chemistry Council and Michigan State University have developed a 'magic glue' which could be cured, unbonded and rebonded in a manner of minutes and shows promise at the collision repair level.

The substance involves nanoparticle balls of iron dust inside of a polymer, according to a video from ACC's plastics arm.  Applying electric current causes them to vibrate and reach temperatures between 320-800 within seconds, but not so much the adjacent materials.  The polymer melts and debonds the parts without harming the substrates being joined.  Turn off the current and it hardens within seconds.

And here's the real kicker - the rebonded joint can be even stronger, research indicates.  A carbon fiber frame could be fixed to greater strength after a collision and a frame replacement on an aged car could make a vehicle "better than new" according to Sandra McClelland, ACC Plastics Division Auto Team Chairwoman.

"The substance could stand the automotive notion of joint fatigue on its head", says McClelland.  When asked how the bond could be stronger, McClelland said that the heating of nanoparticles gives off energy, leading to a thermoplastic adhesive melting and becoming more crystalline.  "A more crystalline polymer has better strength", added McClelland.