Self-healing polymers, based on microencapsulated dicyclopentadiene and Grubbs' catalyst embedded in the polymer matrix, are capable of responding to propagating fatigue cracks by autonomic processes that lead to higher endurance limits and life extension, or even the complete arrest of the crack growth. The amount of fatigue-life extension depends on the relative magnitude of the mechanical kinetics of crack propagation and the chemical kinetics of healing. As the healing kinetics are accelerated, greater fatigue life extension is achieved. The use of wax-protected, recrystallized Grubbs' catalyst leads to a fourfold increase in the rate of polymerization of bulk dicyclopentadiene and extends the fatigue life of a polymer specimen over 30 times longer than a comparable non-healing specimen. The fatigue life of polymers under extremely fast fatigue crack growth can be extended through the incorporation of periodic rest periods, effectively training the self-healing polymeric material to achieve higher endurance limits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-403
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 22 2007


  • Autonomic materials
  • Fatigue
  • Self-healing polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry


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