Self-healing materials: first steps

from the if-it's-broke-no-need-to-fix-it dept.
JohnPierce writes about work at UIUC published in Nature:"An AP article on Yahoo says: 'Researchers have developed the first material that automatically repairs itself, offering a potential way of fixing the hairline cracks that develop in the space-age composites used in everything from tennis rackets to aircraft. The scientists' secret: tiny capsules of glue that are added to the composite material… To heal tiny cracks automatically, the Illinois researchers sprinkled capsules about the thickness of a human hair throughout an experimental fiberglass-like compound. When a crack appeared, capsules in its path broke open, spilled their contents and sealed the cracks.'
Food for thought: Micro encapsulation is already in widespread use in medicine and food, so using it in construction materials is a natural progression. Nanotechnology will be able to encapsulate high strength repair substances that will survive high temperatures. Self repair will no doubt become a standard Nano application."

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