Autonomous stimulus triggered self-healing in smart structural composites

C. J. Norris, J. A P White, G. McCombe, P. Chatterjee, I. P. Bond, R. S. Trask

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Inspired by the ability of biological systems to sense and autonomously heal damage, this research has successfully demonstrated the first autonomous, stimulus triggered, self-healing system in a structural composite material. Both the sensing and healing mechanisms are reliant on microvascular channels incorporated within a laminated composite material. For the triggering mechanism, a single air filled vessel was pressurized, sealed and monitored. Upon drop weight impact (10J), delamination and microcrack connectivity between the pressurized vessel and those open to ambient led to a pressure loss which, with the use of a suitable sensor, triggered a pump to deliver a healing agent to the damage zone. Using this autonomous healing approach, near full recovery of post-impact compression strength was achieved (94% on average). A simplified alternative system with healing agent continuously flowing through the vessels, akin to blood flow, was found to offer 100% recovery of the materials virgin strength. Optical microscopy and ultrasonic C-scanning provided further evidence of large-scale infusion of matrix damage with the healing agent. The successful implementation of this bioinspired technology could substantially enhance the integrity and reliability of aerospace structures, whilst offering benefits through improved performance/weight ratios and extended lifetimes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number094027
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Volume21
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)

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  • Cite this

    Norris, C. J., White, J. A. P., McCombe, G., Chatterjee, P., Bond, I. P., & Trask, R. S. (2012). Autonomous stimulus triggered self-healing in smart structural composites. Smart Materials and Structures, 21(9), [094027]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0964-1726/21/9/094027