To create their self-healing materials, the researchers begin by building a scaffold using a robotic deposition process called direct-write assembly. The process employs a concentrated polymeric ink, dispensed as a continuous filament, to fabricate a three-dimensional structure, layer by layer.
Once the scaffold has been produced, it is surrounded with an epoxy resin. After curing, the resin is heated and the ink – which liquefies – is extracted, leaving behind a substrate with a network of interlocking microchannels.
In the final steps, the researchers deposit a brittle epoxy coating on top of the substrate, and fill the network with a liquid healing agent.
In the researchers’ tests, the coating and substrate are bent until a crack forms in the coating. The crack propagates through the coating until it encounters one of the fluid-filled “capillaries” at the interface of the coating and substrate. Healing agent moves from the capillary into the crack, where it interacts with catalyst particles. If the crack reopens under additional stress, the healing cycle is repeated.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Self-healing artificial skin
U of I(llinois) researchers have developed a multi-layered material that can be damaged in the same spot repeatedly and 'heal' the damaged area. I would describe it, but Physorg.com gives a great synopsis: