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Bio‐inspired Self‐healing Materials

Self‐healing is a basic and essential property of living organisms and a great challenge for materials sciences. Over the last decade self‐repair mechanisms found in plants have proved to be promising role models for the development of bio‐inspired self‐healing materials. Biological self‐repair processes typically can be divided in a fast self‐sealing and a slower self‐healing phase. The potential of biomimetic approaches for the development of bio‐inspired self‐healing materials is exemplified by three current R&D projects. The first example deals with the development of self‐repairing closed‐cell foam coatings for pneumatic structures inspired by lianas of the genus Aristolochia in which internal fissures are repaired by pressurized (turgescent) cortex cells that swell in the newly formed (micro‐)cracks and seal them. In the second example self‐sealing mechanisms found in succulent leaves of Delosperma cooperi were analysed which may serve as concept generator for self‐sealing membranes In the third project self‐healing elastomers for sealings and dampers have been developed inspired by self‐healing processes found in rubber plants. These plants contain latex emulsions in micro‐tubes which are released after injury and seal the fissures by coagulation. Inspired by these models, new types of self‐healing elastomers based e.g. on ionomers and on micro‐phase separation, respectively, have been developed.

Publication details

Print publication date
15 May 2013
Copyright year
Print ISBN
From the book series:
Smart Materials Series