Plastic is the most versatile material know to mankind. Its like embedded in our day to day life. In reality we cant imagine the world with out plastic. But as we know its a big problem to the environment. Its not degradable, Its made from crude oil which one day is going to vanish.
Scientist all across the world are working on alternate ways to generate plastic having the same properties but greener in nature. One such Scientist is Dr Takuzo Aida from the University of Tokyo. He and his team mixed a a few grams of a clay into 100gms of water and added a little quantity of an organic molecular glue and sodium polyacrylate (thickening agent). This thickening agent tears apart the clay into thin sheets thus increasing the surface area and allowing the glue to hold better. This mixture formed is almost water but has a self holding capacity. But its not strong enough.
The strength in this material comes from the forces acting between the clay nanosheet and the glue. Its actually held together by Supra-molecular forces, which are hydrogen bonds. It also has a self healing property.
Mr Aida says that the strength of the material can be increased by increasing the quantities of clay, sodium polyacrylate and glue.
Lets hope it gives way to cleaner biodegradable plastic.