Biomimetic reliability strategies for self-healing vascular networks in engineering materials

H. R. Williams, R. S. Trask, A. C. Knights, E. R. Williams, I. P. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (SciVal)


Self-healing via a vascular network is an active research topic, with several recent publications reporting the application and optimization of these systems. This work represents the first consideration of the probable failure modes of a self-healing system as a driver for network design. The critical failure modes of a proposed self-healing system based on a vascular network were identified via a failure modes, effects and criticality analysis and compared to those of the human circulatory system. A range of engineering and biomimetic design concepts to address these critical failure modes is suggested with minimum system mass the overall design driver for high-performance systems. Plant vasculature has been mimicked to propose a segregated network to address the risk of fluid leakage. This approach could allow a network to be segregated into six separate paths with a system mass penalty of only approximately 25%. Fluid flow interconnections that mimic the anastomoses of animal vasculatures can be used within a segregated network to balance the risk of failure by leakage and blockage. These biomimetic approaches define a design space that considers the existing published literature in the context of system reliability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-747
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Royal Society, Interface
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2008


  • Branched network
  • Human circulation
  • Polymer composite
  • Self-repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry


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