Inspired by nature, chemists from the Technical University of Munich have developed substances that deteriorate on their own at a predetermined time.
Most man-made materials are highly stable. In contrast, living materials like skin, bones or cells require a constant input of energy and molecular basic components before decomposing at the end of their lifespan.
Based on nature’s model, chemist Job Boekhoven and his team (Technical University of Munich) developed synthetic materials made of building blocks that self-assemble into bigger structures by adding high-energy molecules. Once the energy is exhausted, they decompose.
With this technology, which at this stage remains basic, one might someday build objects that would disappear when they are no longer needed. Self-disposing bottles, clothes or cars could drastically decrease the amount of waste.