Stimuli triggered deployment of bio-inspired self-healing functionality

R. S. Trask, I. P. Bond, C. Norris

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


The concept of self-healing materials has gained widespread acceptance in the research community. Over recent years a diverse array of bio-inspired self-healing concepts, from solid-state diffusion to liquid-phase healing in a broad range of engineering materials, embracing ceramics, polymers and fibre reinforced polymer composite materials have been proposed in the open literature. In this research study the liquid-phase healing of operational damage, namely impact damage, in advanced polymer composites is being addressed. The challenge of self-healing advanced fibre reinforced polymer composites is to obtain healing success without degrading the mechanical performance of host composite, a problem not encountered in the self-healing of generic polymeric systems. In the genre of self-healing fibre reinforced composite materials, autonomous healing is undertaken by a healing medium already located within the damage zone and released through the damage either passively or actively through human invention. This approach requires the 'engineering' control of the storage medium's toughness for release, and the development of bespoke resin chemistries to be compatible with the manufacturing route, i.e. they have to remain active whilst latent and then to recover full mechanical performance once a damage event occurs. This study has generated a proof of concept whereby the healing medium is only deployed to the damage site once a sensor has been triggered. The principle of the concept revolves around the ability of a reservoir to deliver a healing medium to a damage site via a network of vessels contained in the centerline of the composite laminate. Upon drop weight impact (10 Joules), delamination and microcracking connectivity between the pressurised vascule and those open to ambient led to a pressure loss which, with the use of a suitable sensor, triggers 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). The successful implementation of this bio-inspired technology shows the potential of this concept for minimising parasitic mass and maximising healing potential in fibre reinforced composite materials.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th Asian-Australasian Conference on Composite Materials 2012, ACCM 2012 - Composites: Enabling Tomorrow's Industry Today
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event8th Asian-Australasian Conference on Composite Materials 2012 - Composites: Enabling Tomorrow's Industry Today, ACCM 2012 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 6 Nov 20128 Nov 2012


Conference8th Asian-Australasian Conference on Composite Materials 2012 - Composites: Enabling Tomorrow's Industry Today, ACCM 2012
CityKuala Lumpur


  • Bio-inspired
  • Compression
  • Impact Damage
  • Self-healing
  • Vascules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites


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