Abstract

Structural polymers are susceptible to damage in the form of cracks, which form deep within the structure where detection is difficult and repair is almost impossible. Cracking leads to mechanical degradation1-3 of fibre-reinforced polymer composites; in microelectronic polymeric components it can also lead to electrical failure4. Microcracking induced by thermal and mechanical fatigue is also a long-standing problem in polymer adhesives5. Regardless of the application, once cracks have formed within polymeric materials, the integrity of the structure is significantly compromised. Experiments exploring the concept of self-repair have been previously reported6-8, but the only successful crack-healing methods that have been reported so far require some form of manual intervention10-18. Here we report a structural polymeric material with the ability to autonomically heal cracks. The material incorporates a microencapsulated healing agent that is released upon crack intrusion. Polymerization of the healing agent is then triggered by contact with an embedded catalyst, bonding the crack faces. Our fracture experiments yield as much as 75% recovery in toughness, and we expect that our approach will be applicable to other brittle materials systems (including ceramics and glasses).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)794-797
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume409
Issue number6822
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2001

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Polymers
Polymerization
Fatigue
Hot Temperature
Glass ceramics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

White, S. R., Sottos, N. R., Geubelle, P. H., Moore, J. S., Kessler, M. R., Sriram, S. R., ... Viswanathan, S. (2001). Autonomic healing of polymer composites. Nature, 409(6822), 794-797. https://doi.org/10.1038/35057232

Autonomic healing of polymer composites. / White, S. R.; Sottos, N. R.; Geubelle, P. H.; Moore, J. S.; Kessler, M. R.; Sriram, S. R.; Brown, E. N.; Viswanathan, S.

In: Nature, Vol. 409, No. 6822, 15.02.2001, p. 794-797.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

White, SR, Sottos, NR, Geubelle, PH, Moore, JS, Kessler, MR, Sriram, SR, Brown, EN & Viswanathan, S 2001, 'Autonomic healing of polymer composites', Nature, vol. 409, no. 6822, pp. 794-797. https://doi.org/10.1038/35057232
White SR, Sottos NR, Geubelle PH, Moore JS, Kessler MR, Sriram SR et al. Autonomic healing of polymer composites. Nature. 2001 Feb 15;409(6822):794-797. https://doi.org/10.1038/35057232
White, S. R. ; Sottos, N. R. ; Geubelle, P. H. ; Moore, J. S. ; Kessler, M. R. ; Sriram, S. R. ; Brown, E. N. ; Viswanathan, S. / Autonomic healing of polymer composites. In: Nature. 2001 ; Vol. 409, No. 6822. pp. 794-797.
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