A self-healing biomaterial based on free-radical polymerization

Mary M Caruso Dailey, Alexander W. Silvia, Patrick J. McIntire, Gerald O. Wilson, Jeffrey S. Moore, Scott R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-healing chemistry used for damage repair have not previously been demonstrated for free-radical polymerization pathways. However, this chemistry is important for addition polymers such as poly(methyl methacrylate) used in bone cement and epoxy vinyl ester used in dental resins. Self-healing biomaterials offer the potential for safer and longer lasting implants and restoratives by slowing or arresting crack damage. In the free-radical self-healing system reported here, the three components required for polymerization (free-radical peroxide initiator, tertiary amine activator, and vinyl acrylate monomers) are compartmentalized into two separate microcapsules - one containing the peroxide initiator, and the other containing both monomer and activator. Crack damage ruptures the capsules so that the three components mix and react to form a new polymer that effectively rebonds the crack and restores approximately 75% of the original fracture toughness. Optimal healing is obtained by a systematic evaluation of the effect of monomer, initiator, and activator concentration on healing performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3024-3032
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • epoxy vinyl ester
  • microencapsulation
  • radical polymerization
  • self-healing
  • simulated body fluid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Metals and Alloys


Dive into the research topics of 'A self-healing biomaterial based on free-radical polymerization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this