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The polymer automatically patches holes 3cm wide, 100 times bigger than before.
Inspired by the human blood clotting system, it contains a network of capillaries that deliver healing chemicals to damaged areas.
The new material, created by engineers at the University of Illinois, is described in Science journal.
For decades scientists have dreamed of plastics that heal themselves like human skin.
More recently, concrete, water-resistant coatings, and even electrical circuits have been engineered with self-healing properties.
"Here again, elegant examples that have evolved in nature can inspire solutions."