Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed new polymers that are sturdy enough to deliver packages or sensors into hostile territory — and then break down once the military mission is complete.
The material has been made into a rigid-winged glider and a nylon-like parachute fabric for airborne delivery across distances of a hundred miles or more. It could also be used someday in building materials or environmental sensors.
The polymers have to be synthesized at low temperatures because they’re unstable at room temperature — though they can last for years are room temperature unless it is triggered. The polymer is designed to be triggered to dissolve in response to a thermal spike or a certain amount of exposure to ultraviolet light, such as in sunlight. The triggering mechanism can be adjusted to make the polymer useful in a variety of environments.
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