New spray on polymer makes watermelons, and the Pentagon, indestructible

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

As scientists discover, and create new fantastical molecules and polymers, the number of applications that they can be used for increases, Line-X is a wonderful example of what’s possible.

 

What do pick up truck bed liners, ballistic vests, the Pentagon, a piece of paper and a watermelon all have in common? That’s right – thanks to a new spray on polymer called Line-X from a Californian company sporting the same name they are all virtually indestructible.

 

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Despite the viral video of the seemingly indestructible watermelon, which manages to withstand being dropped from the top of a 148ft tower, falling at over 60mph, and being assaulted with an axe – but that eventually gives in to a buzz saw, aww rubbish, the wonder material has a serious side too. The US Government is using it to protect buildings from terrorist bomb blasts after Line-X was found to significantly reduce fragmentation which is one of the greatest threats posed from an explosion.

 

Wild!

 

The LINE-X polymer can be sprayed onto the exterior wall of any buildings, effectively containing the shattered wall fragments and protecting the building’s occupants from serious injury during the explosion.

Tests that were recently conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and US Army Corps. of Engineers (USACE) showed that Line-X protected buildings can withstand the force from up to 1,100 pounds of explosives and while the walls of the Pentagon are already lined with the material it now looks like the miracle polymer is going to be making its debut on civilian structures where it could potentially help to combat the effects of natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes.

 

 

The wonder polymer apparently gets its amazing properties because it’s molecular structure is a mess, in fact everything about it is a mess. It’s made up of two ingredients, handily nicknamed A and B. A is mostly made up of a molecule called Diphenylmethane-4,4′-diisocyanate, or MDI for short, and B is the plasticising part and it’s made out of – are you ready? Take a deep breath and say it with me – alpha-(2-aminomethylethyl)-omega-(2-aminomethylethoxy)-poly(oxy(methyl-1,2-ethanediyl)).

And breathe.

 

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When these two materials bind together they form a new polymer called Polyurea and it’s these long, tangled molecules that give Line-X not only its strength but also its flexibility because they can be stretched out and snap back into place.

Now that the secret about this amazing new material is out I want to spray it onto everything – does anyone have any fine china?

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