back to article IBM accidentally invents new class of polymers

IBM says its research arm accidentally invented the first new class of polymers the world has known for decades. Detailed here in a paper titled Recyclable, Strong Thermosets and Organogels via Paraformaldehyde Condensation with Diamines, the newly-discovered polymers were the result of an accident that saw IBM researcher …

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Go boffins!

Don't you just love serendipity?

(excuse me while I go and take my penicillin)

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Re: Go boffins!

Isaac Asimov said it best: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'"

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Coat

The video should have...

paid homage to the Solvite ad and had the researcher glued to a wall. Of course, having to use acid to release her would have been a bit harsh.

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Holmes

solvent...

" They also dissolve in liquids where pH <2"

I think you'll find that most of anything wil dissolve in liquids with pH <2.....

The fact that by that same line it's actually resistant to pH up to that level is rather more impressive though.

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Boffin

Re: solvent...

Nope, you could take a bath in pH 2 acid and be ok (rubbing in the eyes not recommended).

For example, lemons and vinegar are about that acidic, and my chips never seem to end up as a pool of sludge...

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Re: solvent...

I think means below 2.

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yes, but ...

... is it something we could make space tethers out of? IS2R we need a four fold improvement in strength / density of our current best fibre (kevlar?) to get a space elevator tether built.

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Now this is a proper invention.

New substances invented by accident often turn out really well.

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Re: Now this is a proper invention.

That's probably because you only hear about the ones that are worth talking about and developing further.

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Re: you only hear about the ones that are worth talking about

Which assumes there are survivors

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Which assumes there are survivors

see Ignition! by John D. Clark.

subtitle: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants

[that man was a natural born survivor]

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Re: Which assumes there are survivors

Fantastic book. Loved the part when he talks about interviewing new candidates to work in the propulsion chem labs, and how he always made sure to make something explode during their interview to see how the candidate would react...had to filter out the jumpy ones!

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Accidental discoveries

Gotta love 'em!

Oh damn! I forgot to add this. I'll have to throw it away and start aga... Hang on, how the hell is it doing that? Wow, this stuff is awesome!

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Self healing skin for Terminators. Just in time.

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Boffin

Quick ditch the garlic necklaces and get the Sarson's (Other Vinegar's are available)!

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What to call it?

My vote is

Strong

Novel

Organogels and

Thermosets

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Re: What to call it?

Will it be in a range of yellow to green shades?

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Boffin

Terry Pratchett gets the patent though...

From "The Long Earth" with Stephen Baxter:

"He was after all the founder of the first 'serendipital laboratory'. The logic was that since so many important new discoveries in science were made by accident, then the process would be speeded up if you set up a situation in which a very large number of accidents happened and watched the results carefully."

Kudos though to the researcher who at least thought "that's interesting..."

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Re: Terry Pratchett gets the patent though...

There's a lot of fascinating stuff in those books. I shouldn't be surprised really - Bringing two of writing's greatest minds and smashing them together between a single hardcover was bound to produce something spectacular.

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Re: Terry Pratchett gets the patent though...

It did with 'Good Omens'

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Anonymous Coward

When did it happen?

Was it on a friday after a liquid lunch? Inquiring minds wish to know...

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"Self-healing"

"Self-healing plastic", now that sounds really cool! But watching the video, it's like"Meh, it's "sticky", not "self-healing". I think I sneezed out something with the same self-healing properties earlier this morning. It was green mind, not blue.

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Re: "Self-healing"

Not quite. It's not just sticky. If you place bits togeter and heat them, it forms a solid bit with the same properties as if you'd never riped the bits from one another in the first place. This is what makes metal such a usefull material and something plastics have a VERY hard time doing, because they just get sticky, as you say.

Still, another nail in the coffin of the wish bosses have that boffins should never ever concentrate on anything but exactly the usefull stuff the boss wants.

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reversable thermosetting

Thermosetting polymers are cheap and strong, but one of their disadvantages is that they cannot be reused. You have to throw them away or grind them up.

So one which can be separated to its original components in strong acid could be really handy.

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No-one? Oh, okay then...

IBM researcher Jeannette M. Garcia forget to add one ingredient during some lab work. That happy error led the compound she was working on to become hard.

FNARR! FNARR!

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Impressive stuff. You can bet they will be varying the mix to see what they can find

Exciting times.

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always watch for the unexpected . . . that's when the fun begins!

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purple latex gloves?

So they've found an artefact then?

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