What is Self-Healing Material?
Self-healing materials are a class of smart materials that have the structurally incorporated ability to repair damage caused by mechanical usage over time. The inspiration comes from biological systems, which have the ability to heal after being wounded. Initiation of cracks and other types of damage on a microscopic level has been shown to change thermal, electrical, and acoustical properties, and eventually lead to whole scale failure of the material.
Usually, cracks are mended by hand, which is difficult because cracks are often hard to detect. A material (polymers, ceramics, etc.) that can intrinsically correct damage caused by normal usage could lower production costs of a number of different industrial processes through longer part lifetime, reduction of inefficiency over time caused by degradation, as well as prevent costs incurred by material failure. For a material to be defined as self-healing, it is necessary that the healing process occurs without human intervention. Some examples shown below include healing polymers that are not “self-healing” polymers.
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