What Could Be Better Than Duct Tape? This Stuff

By Alexis C. Madrigal
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http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/11/what-could-be-better-than-duct-tape-this-stuff/66622/

Everyone loves to sing the praises of duct tape, but John Pavlus invites us to take a look at Sugru, a next-generation adhesive that seems to one-up the traditional roll. It was built specifically for the DIY crowd as something that "would let normal people 'hack things better.'" We can't wait to get our hands on some.

Sugru -- a flexible, curable, sticky silicone that's part Silly Putty, part duct tape -- is technology that improves your technology. Inventor Jane ni Dhulchaointigh teamed up with materials scientists from Dow Corning and Queen Mary University of London to cook up something that would let normal people "hack things better" -- easily repair or modify their aging gadgets instead of throwing them out.

It took the team five years to develop a substance that met all of Jane's specs: moldable by hand, waterproof, curable at room temperature, rigid but flexible after curing, able to adhere to almost anything. The new class of silicone they created, called Formerol, can do anything from repair a cracked laptop to weatherproof a bike basket.

"Our biggest technical challenge was achieving such versatile adhesive properties," Jane says. "Until now, [similar products] have been flowable materials used either for sealing, gluing or coating, rather than free moulding." Sugru is named after the Irish word for play, but its applications could potentially extend far beyond arts and crafts.

Read the full story at Tech Specs at Technology Review.

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http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/11/what-could-be-better-than-duct-tape-this-stuff/66622/