Retardation and repair of fatigue cracks in a microcapsule toughened epoxy composite - Part I: Manual infiltration

E. N. Brown, Scott R White, N. R. Sottos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a first step towards a new crack healing methodology for cyclic loading, this paper examines two promising crack-tip shielding mechanisms during fatigue of a microcapsule toughened epoxy. Artificial crack closure is achieved by injecting precatalyzed monomer into the crack plane to form a polymer wedge at the crack tip. The effect of wedge geometry is also considered, as dictated by crack loading conditions during infiltration. Crack-tip shielding by a polymer wedge formed with the crack held open under the maximum cyclic loading condition (Kmax) yields temporary crack arrest and extends the fatigue life by more than 20 times. Hydrodynamic pressure and viscous damping as a mechanism of crack-tip shielding are also investigated by injecting mineral oil into the crack plane. Viscous fluid flow leads to retardation of crack growth independent of initial loading conditions. The success of these mechanisms for retarding fatigue crack growth demonstrates the potential for in situ self-healing of fatigue damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2466-2473
Number of pages8
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Issue number15-16 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • A. polymer-matrix composites
  • A. smart materials
  • B. fatigue
  • C. failure criterion
  • Self-healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Ceramics and Composites


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