Stimuli-triggered self-healing functionality in advanced fibre-reinforced composites

Richard S. Trask, Christopher J. Norris, Ian P. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (SciVal)


Inspired by the sensory and autonomous healing processes of living organisms, whether from the Animalia or Plantae biological kingdoms, a microvascular network that undertakes a dual role of sensing structural damage before initiating a triggered healing response has been developed and embedded within an advanced fibre-reinforced composite [-45/90/45/0]2S laminate. In this study, a single vascule is used as a sensing pathway, which detects the introduction of ply delamination and matrix microcracking following a 10-J low-velocity impact event. Once damage connectivity between the sensing vascule and those open to the ambient environment is established, the delivery of a healing agent to the damage zone is triggered. An investigation into a commercially available epoxy healing agent (RT151) and an in-house healing resin formation (diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A/diethylenetriamine) epoxy system has been evaluated. The pressure-assisted delivery of the liquid epoxy healing agent to the damage zone was observed to occur within 49 s across all specimens. The recovery of compression strength post impact was 91% and 94% for the RT151 and diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A healing agents, respectively. This study provides further confirmation on how a bio-inspired vascular healing network could substantially enhance the reliability and robustness of advanced composite materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Bio-inspired
  • compression after impact
  • polymer composites
  • self-healing
  • structural health monitoring
  • vascular networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering


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