Self-healing structural composite materials

M. R. Kessler, N. R. Sottos, S. R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A self-healing fiber-reinforced structural polymer matrix composite material is demonstrated. In the composite, a microencapsulated healing agent and a solid chemical catalyst are dispersed within the polymer matrix phase. Healing is triggered by crack propagation through the microcapsules, which then release the healing agent into the crack plane. Subsequent exposure of the healing agent to the chemical catalyst initiates polymerization and bonding of the crack faces. Self-healing (autonomic healing) is demonstrated on width-tapered double cantilever beam fracture specimens in which a mid-plane delamination is introduced and then allowed to heal. Autonomic healing at room temperature yields as much as 45% recovery of virgin interlaminar fracture toughness, while healing at 80 °C increases the recovery to over 80%. The in situ kinetics of healing in structural composites is investigated in comparison to that of neat epoxy resin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-753
Number of pages11
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • A. Polymer-matrix composites (PMCs)
  • B. Delamination
  • B. Fracture toughness
  • E. Repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites


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