Nanocapsules for self-healing materials

B. J. Blaiszik, N. R. Sottos, S. R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report an in situ encapsulation method demonstrating over an order of magnitude size reduction for the preparation of urea-formaldehyde (UF) capsules filled with a healing agent, dicyclopentadiene (DCPD). Capsules with diameters as small as 220 nm are achieved using sonication techniques and an ultrahydrophobe to stabilize the DCPD droplets. The capsules possess a uniform UF shell wall (77 nm average thickness) and display good thermal stability. By controlling the ζ-potential, the capsules are uniformly dispersed in an epoxy matrix and shown to cleave rather than debond upon fracture of the matrix. Mechanical properties of the epoxy/capsule composite, including mode-I fracture toughness, elastic modulus, and ultimate tensile strength are measured and compared to previous data for larger capsules (ca. 180 μm).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-986
Number of pages9
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • A. Nanostructures
  • A. Polymer-matrix composites
  • A. Smart materials
  • B. Mechanical properties
  • Self-healing materials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Ceramics and Composites


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