Self-healing polymers and fiber-reinforced polymer composites possess the ability to heal in response to damage wherever and whenever it occurs in the material. This phenomenal material behavior is inspired by biological systems in which self-healing is commonplace. To date, self-healing has been demonstrated by three conceptual approaches: capsule-based healing systems, vascular healing systems, and intrinsic healing polymers. Self-healing can be autonomic-automatic without human intervention-or may require some external energy or pressure. All classes of polymers, from thermosets to thermoplastics to elastomers, have potential for self-healing. The majority of research to date has focused on the recovery of mechanical integrity following quasi-static fracture. This article also reviews self-healing during fatigue and in response to impact damage, puncture, and corrosion. The concepts embodied by current self-healing polymers offer a new route toward safer, longer-lasting, fault-tolerant products and components across a broad cross section of industries including coatings, electronics, transportation, and energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-211
Number of pages33
JournalAnnual Review of Materials Research
StatePublished - 2010


  • autonomic
  • bioinspired
  • capsule
  • intrinsic
  • remendable
  • vascular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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