Self-Healing Material

Artificially or synthetically created substances with the ability to automatically repair damage without an external diagnosis or any human intervention.
Technology Life Cycle

Technology Life Cycle


Marked by a rapid increase in technology adoption and market expansion. Innovations are refined, production costs decrease, and the technology gains widespread acceptance and use.

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

Prototype Testing

Prototype is fully functional and ready for testing in industrially relevant environment.

Technology Diffusion

Technology Diffusion

Early Adopters

Embrace new technologies soon after Innovators. They often have significant influence within their social circles and help validate the practicality of innovations.

Self-Healing Material

Microcracks and hidden damage are the causes of structural failures. With the ability to repair themselves automatically without an external diagnosis or any human intervention or external stimuli, such as heat or light, these artificially and synthetically created materials use a variety of self-repair techniques such as forming hydrogen bonds, metal-ligand coordination, or even ion-dipole interactions. They mimic biological systems that can repair and regenerate damaged tissue.

The specific mechanisms of self-healing materials vary depending on the material and application, with some having microcapsules or fibers that release a healing agent when the material is damaged, while others have a network of microchannels that distribute the healing agent throughout the material. Additionally, some self-healing materials undergo reversible chemical reactions that allow them to repair themselves when damaged.

A variety of classes of materials, including metals, glass, rubber, silicon, cotton, leather, ceramics, concrete, and polymers, are a few examples of tested self-healing components. However, a polar, stretchable polymer, poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene), and a mobile ionic salt is the most popular combination among scientists to produce a self-healing material. It works through a chain linked to an ion-dipole interaction between the polar groups in the polymer and ionic salt. The result is a technology based on polymeric material, useful for self-repairing electronics, soft robotics, or even liquid coatings that could make for cleaner and less sticky furniture, automotive interiors, clothing, shoes, handbags, etc. This technology could create water-resistant and super-liquiphobic products, repelling both water and oil-based liquids.

Self-healing materials have a wide range of applications in industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction, and electronics. They can reduce maintenance costs, extend the lifespan of products, and improve safety by preventing catastrophic failures. Self-healing materials can also prevent catastrophic failures in critical components, such as aerospace components, and improve the durability of products like electronics and automotive components, reducing the need for replacement and repair.

Future Perspectives

Self-healing materials/composites will soon have a significant impact, especially for materials such as underwater piping or even aerospace structures, where maintenance and inspection are nearly impossible due to inaccessibility. With self-healing capabilities, there would be no concerns over issues such as erosion or microcracking. It could be possible for these principles to be applied to the development of lithium batteries, artificial muscles, fixing broken smartphones, or even avoiding oil spillage and loss of water due to faulty pipes.

Image generated by Envisioning using Midjourney

Perishable foods at undesired temperatures can generate foodborne illnesses that present significant societal costs. To certify refrigeration succession in a food-supply chain, a flexible, easy-to-interpret, damage-tolerant, and sensitive time-temperature indicator (TTI) that uses a self-healing nanofiber mat is devised. This mat is opaque when refrigerated due to nanofiber-induced light scattering, but becomes irreversibly transparent at room temperature through self-healing-induced interfibrillar fusion leading to the appearance of a warning sign. The mat monitors both freezer (-20 °C) and chiller (2 °C) successions and its timer is tunable over the 0.5-22.5 h range through control of the polymer composition and film thickness. The thin mat itself serves as both a temperature sensor and display; it does not require modularization, accurately measures localized or gradient heat, and functions even after crushing, cutting, and when weight-loaded in a manner that existing TTIs cannot. It also contains no drainable chemicals and is attachable to various shapes because it operates through an intrinsic physical response.
Self-healing materials (SHEM) have extensive characteristics that significantly influence structural and polymeric components’ damage detection and healing behaviour. The composite materials with self-healing capabilities can automatically repair themselves after damage and lessen the economic losses. The present work aims to explore the recent successes in these endeavours from numerous kinds of research published over the last few years and focuses on methodologies/mechanisms, material types, and the excellent abilities of SHEM in various fields. The three objectives of the current article are: (i) to deliberate the motivation behind materials that can either extrinsically or intrinsically heal. (ii) investigate research on self-healing composites, emphasizing several healing systems or mechanisms. (iii) to review the most recent developments and applications of self-healing materials in different sectors. Additionally, some of the classifications, computational methods, and healing efficiency specific to self-healing materials have been reviewed, and the individual comparisons of self-healing techniques are discussed.
The search for materials with better performance, longer service life, lower environmental impact, and lower overall cost is at the forefront of polymer science and material engineering. This has led to the development of self-healing polymers with a range of healing mechanisms including capsular-based, vascular, and intrinsic self-healing polymers. The development of self-healable systems has been inspired by the healing of biological systems such as skin wound healing and broken bone reconstruction. The goal of using self-healing polymers in various applications is to extend the service life of polymers without the need for replacement or human intervention especially in restricted access areas such as underwater/underground piping where inspection, intervention, and maintenance are very difficult. Through an industrial and scholarly lens, this paper provides: a) an overview of self-healing polymers; b) classification of different self-healing polymers and polymer-based composites; c) mechanical, thermal, and electrical analysis characterization; d) applications in coating, composites, and electronics; e) modeling and simulation; and f) recent development in the past 20 years. This review highlights the importance of healable polymers for an economically and environmentally sustainable future, the most recent advances in the field, and current limitations in fabrication, manufacturing, and performance.
Engineering researchers have developed a new self-healing composite that allows structures to repair themselves in place, without having to be removed from service. This latest technology resolves two longstanding challenges for self-healing materials, and can significantly extend the lifespan of structural components such as wind-turbine blades and aircraft wings.
Synthetic materials used in a wide range of applications are prone to damage in the form of cracking/microcracking. Catastrophic failure of the materials may occur due to the growth and merging of the microcracks, which results in the reduction of the service life of the materials. To avoid these problems and increase the service life, early detection and mending of the microcracks are extremely important. Self-healing materials can be utilized in these cases, which have the capability not only to detect cracks early but also to repair cracks automatically. These materials will also have the potential to improve material reliability, extend the service life, reduce replacement costs, and improve product safety. Due to these attractive features, numerous research studies are conducted every year on the development of self-healing systems. This paper summarizes the latest progress in the design and fabrication techniques of self-healing materials through a wide range of materials, including metals, ceramics, concrete, and polymer composites. Based on recent research, this article provides an overview of different chemistries and approaches involved in preparing self-healing composites. Comparative healing efficiency and related fabrication methods are tabulated. Finally, existing problems, gaps, and challenges, and future research directions and opportunities for commercial applications are highlighted.
Self-healing material are gaining interest of the researchers in the direction where material can mimic biological process of healing, for an example, healing of wound on skin, reunion of broken bone segment, etc such invincible process of healing, is still a fantasy. Several publications are available on polymer based self-healing composite material compared to other materials like metals, ceramics etc. The self-healing of polymers requires less energy because of weak bond strength compared to metallic bond strength. Self-healing enhances the mechanical properties of materials which can significantly increase the service life of structural or mechanical member. In metallic materials, Self-healing at nano-scale level is limited to crack closer at same scale level only. Once crack is reached a level above nano scale, it tends to grow because of crack coalescence. Disintegrated Melt Deposition technique and Semi Solid Metal processing techniques are discussed to develop Nano SMA based self-healing alloy. In this paper, recent works of self-healing metallic materials have been covered.

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