Impact damage can degrade the flexural strength of composite sandwich structures by over 50% due to a loss of skin support inducing localized skin buckling. Various self-healing methodologies have been applied to laminated composites but the concept of delivering a healing agent from a remote reservoir to a region of damage via a vascular network offers the potential for a robust and replenishable system housed in the core of a sandwich structure. In this pilot study a vascular sandwich structure that appears as a conventional sandwich composite has been developed and tested. The network has been shown to have negligible influence on the innate static mechanical properties of the host panel. Infiltration of the vascular network with a pre-mixed epoxy resin system after impact damage demonstrated a complete recovery of flexural failure mode and load. Infiltration with the same resin system from separate unmixed networks, where self-healing is initiated autonomously via mixing within the damage, has also been shown to fully recover undamaged failure load when both networks are successfully breached.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)