Retardation and repair of fatigue cracks in a microcapsule toughened epoxy composite - Part II: In situ self-healing

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Successful arrest and retardation of fatigue cracks is achieved with an in situ self-healing epoxy matrix composite that incorporates microencapsulated dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) healing agent and Grubbs' first generation Ru catalyst. Healing agent is released into the crack plane by the propagating crack, where it polymerizes to form a polymer wedge, generating a crack tip shielding mechanism. Due to the complex kinetics of healing a growing crack, the resulting in situ retardation and arrest of fatigue cracks exhibit a strong dependence on the applied range of cyclic stress intensity ΔKI. Significant crack arrest and life-extension result when the in situ healing rate is faster than the crack growth rate. In loading cases where the crack grows too rapidly (maximum applied stress intensity factor is a significant percentage of the mode-I fracture toughness value), a carefully timed rest period can be used to prolong fatigue life up to 118%. At moderate ΔKI, in situ healing extends fatigue life by as much as 213%. Further improvements in fatigue life-extension are achieved by employing a rest period, which leads to permanent arrest at this moderate ΔKI. At lower values of applied stress intensity factor, self-healing yields complete arrest of fatigue cracks providing infinite fatigue life-extension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2474-2480
Number of pages7
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Issue number15-16 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • A. Polymer-matrix composites
  • A. Smart materials
  • B. Fatigue
  • D. Fractography, self-healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Ceramics and Composites


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