Tokyo--Toshikazu Takata at the Tokyo Institute of Technology has developed an experimental elastomer in which the cross links can be reversed by immersing the material in a special solvent. The material is due to be presented as a poster session at the IRC in Yokohama, next October, under paper P-48.
Although the material is currently expensive, it offers the possibility of a new generation of elastomers. The reversibility is achieved by forming crosslinks from a polyrotaxane element, which meshes geometrically with other polyrotaxane elements, to link different backbones to each other. A solvent can decompose the polyrotaxane elements.
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