Polymer that can self-destruct instantaneously, offers military chance to leave no trace

09-Sep-19

Military researchers have developed a material that can self-destruct instantaneously - as little as five minutes when exposed directly to sunlight, offering a way to send equipment into enemy territory without leaving a trace.The material is a special type of polymer that disintegrates after reaching a "ceiling temperature."
Dr. Paul Kohl and his team at Georgia Institute of Technology developed the polymer for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which wants to use it to deploy electronic sensors and deliver supplies into hostile areas. It has already been made into a 10-pound rigid glider that can be deployed from an aircraft at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet and land accurately within two feet before disintegrating. The material has even been developed into parachutes that disappear. "These delivery vehicles are not intended to deliver people (to the best of my knowledge) ... critical supplies," Kohl told the Washington Examiner. "They are also not intended to deliver offensive weapons or bombs. They explained when you deliver a bomb, you don't need to make the delivery vehicle disappear ... the bomb takes care of that."

The material could be particularly useful for Special Forces, which often deploy in hostile territory where supplies are limited and leaving a minimal trace is essential. Researchers believe the material could also have civilian applications, such as a disappearing glue for building materials, vaporizing environmental sensors, and delivering aid to civilians in ravaged areas.

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