Because of their high strength and light weight, carbon-fiber-based composite materials are gradually replacing metals for advancing all kinds of products and applications, from airplanes to wind turbines to golf clubs. But there's a trade-off. Once damaged or compromised, the most commonly-used carbon fiber materials are nearly impossible to repair or recycle.
In a paper published Nov. 2 in the journal Carbon, a team of researchers describes a new type of carbon fiber reinforced material that is as strong and light as traditionally used materials but can be repeatedly healed with heat, reversing any fatigue damage. This also provides a way to break it down and recycle it when it reaches the end of its life.
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