Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mimicking Biological Systems, Composite Material Heals Itself

Date:
February 15, 2001
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Inspired by biological systems in which damage triggers an autonomic healing response, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a synthetic material that can heal itself when cracked or broken.

Champaign, IL — Inspired by biological systems in which damage triggers an autonomic healing response, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a synthetic material that can heal itself when cracked or broken.

The material – consisting of a microencapsulated healing agent and a special catalyst embedded in a structural composite matrix – could increase the reliability and service life of thermosetting polymers used in a wide variety of applications ranging from microelectronics to aerospace.

“Once cracks have formed within typical polymeric materials, the integrity of the structure is significantly compromised,” said Scott White, a UI professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering and lead author of a paper published in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Nature that described the new self-healing material. “Often these cracks occur deep within the structure where detection is difficult and repair is virtually impossible.”

In the new material, however, the repair process begins as soon as a crack forms.

“When the material cracks, the microcapsules rupture and release the healing agent into the damaged region through capillary action,” White said. “As the healing agent contacts the embedded catalyst, polymerization is initiated which then bonds the crack face closed.”

In recent fracture tests, the self-healed composites recovered as much as 75 percent of their original strength. And because microcracks are the precursors to structural failure, the ability to heal them will enable structures that last longer and require less maintenance.

“Filling the microcracks will also mitigate the harmful effects of environmentally assisted degradation such as moisture swelling and corrosion cracking,” White said. “This technology could increase the lifetime of structural components, perhaps by as much as two or three times.”

The ability to self-repair and restore structural integrity also could extend the lifetimes of polymer composite circuit boards, where microcracks can lead to both mechanical and electrical failure. One of the many challenges the researchers faced in developing the material was obtaining the proper size of microcapsules. They currently use spheres about 100 microns in diameter. Larger spheres could have weakened the matrix, White said, and work continues on creating ever-smaller capsules.

“We also had to determine the correct shell thickness so the capsules would open under the appropriate stress,” White said. “Capsule walls that are too thick will not rupture when the crack approaches, while capsules with walls that are too thin will break during processing.”

In addition to White, the research team included theoretical and applied mechanics professor Nancy Sottos, aeronautical and astronautical engineering professor Philippe Geubelle, chemistry professor Jeffrey Moore, and graduate students Eric Brown, Michael Kessler, Suresh Sriram, and Sabarivasan Viswanathan. The work was sponsored by a UI Critical Research Initiatives grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Mimicking Biological Systems, Composite Material Heals Itself." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 February 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010215075006.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (2001, February 15). Mimicking Biological Systems, Composite Material Heals Itself. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010215075006.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Mimicking Biological Systems, Composite Material Heals Itself." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010215075006.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins