Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California-Riverside have developed a gel-like polymer that uses carbon dioxide from the air to grow and strengthen itself, Tech2 reports. The researchers developed the material with future applications in construction, repair, or protective coatings in mind.

Scientists described the material as a "synthetic material that could grow on trees, take carbon from carbon dioxide and add them to its material backbone to grow." Currently, the polymer isn't strong enough for use as a stand-alone building material, but it can function as a filling or coating on building material surfaces.

Undoubtedly, one of its key advantages as a component in construction would be its ability to self-heal. Imagine a building that needs nothing but ambient light and carbon dioxide to fix cracks, wear-and-tear, and grow in mass.

While the team of scientists and researches produced the material in bulk, it still needs a few tweaks before it can go commercial.

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