Scientists use protein found in squid teeth to create self-healing fabric

Pablo Tucker
August 14, 2016

Either way, small tears in garments can be repaired by simply throwing them in the laundry and let the water heal the fabric while making it clean at the same time.

CNN Money reports that to fix a torn fabric, you just have to apply warm water on the fabric and press the edges together, and just like magic, the self-healing fabric will reattach and fix on its own. According to CNN, Demirel said he would like to experiment next and find out if clothes will self-repair when the liquid mixture of squid ring teeth is poured "into a washing machine, like you would a detergent, and apply water and heat".

Clothes made with self-healing fabric made with squid ring teeth might be hitting stores soon, if the new material catches on with clothing manufacturers and the general public. So they came up with this coating technology, the invention could prove beneficial for expensive clothing, such as wool and silk, which are not cheap to replace or fix. One thing required to assist the process is water.

"We now dip the whole garment to create the advanced material. So we came up with this coating technology", said Melik Demirel, a professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State.

The resulting self-healing solution can be used to coat cotton, wool and other fabrics.

Demirel said, "We were looking for a way to make fabrics self-healing using conventional textiles".

"If you need to use enzymes for biological or chemical effects", Demirel told Penn News, "you can have an encapsulated enzyme with self-healing properties degrade the toxin before it reaches the skin". Then it could be used in manufacturing, farming or the military, helping protect workers and soldiers from hazardous chemicals.

As an added bonus is that while the coating is so thin it isn't noticable, it is durable enough that garments coated in the substance will heal as they are laundered. As the thin coating will increase the overall strength of clothing, could also be tailored to particular fabrics.

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