Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Recipe For Self-Healing Plastic Includes Dash Of Food Additive

16.10.2008
Adding a food additive to damaged polymers can help restore them to full strength, say scientists at the University of Illinois who cooked up the novel, self-healing system.

The repair process, in which solvent-filled microcapsules embedded in an epoxy matrix rupture when a crack forms, is a major improvement over the original self-healing process first described in February 2001.

“While our previous solvent worked well for healing, it was also toxic,” said Scott White, a professor of aerospace engineering and a researcher at the university’s Beckman Institute. “Our new solvent is both non-toxic and less expensive.”

During normal use, epoxy-based materials experience stresses that can cause cracking, which can lead to mechanical failure. Autonomic self-healing – a process in which the damage itself triggers the repair mechanism – can retain structural integrity and extend the lifetime of the material.

Designed to mimic the human body’s ability to repair wounds, self-healing materials release a healing agent into the crack plane when damaged, and through chemical and physical processes, restore the material’s initial fracture properties.

In November 2007, White and collaborators reported the use of chlorobenzene, a common – but toxic – organic solvent, which in epoxy resins achieved a healing efficiency of up to 82 percent.

In their latest work, which combined a non-toxic and Kosher-certified food additive (ethyl phenylactate) and an unreacted epoxy monomer into microcapsules as small as 150 microns in diameter, the researchers achieved a healing efficiency of 100 percent.

“Previously, the microcapsules contained only solvent, which flowed into the crack and allowed some of the unreacted matrix material to become mobile, react and repair the damage,” said graduate research assistant Mary Caruso. “By including a tiny amount of unreacted epoxy monomer with the solvent in the microcapsules, we can provide additional chemical reactivity to repair the material.”

When the epoxy monomer enters the crack plane, it bonds with material in the matrix to coat the crack and regain structural properties. In tests, the solvent-epoxy monomer combination was able to recover 100 percent of a material’s virgin strength after damage had occurred.

“This work helps move self-healing materials from the lab and into everyday applications,” said graduate research assistant Benjamin Blaiszik. “We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of potential applications using encapsulated solvent and epoxy resin.”

In addition to White, Caruso and Blaiszik, the other co-authors of the paper were materials science and engineering professor Nancy Sottos and chemistry professor Jeffrey Moore. The researchers reported their findings in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials.

The work was supported by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the U.S. Department of Defense. Some of the work was performed at the university’s Center for Microanalysis of Materials, which is partially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Editor’s note: To reach Scott White, call 217-333-1077; e-mail: swhite@illinois.edu

James E. Kloeppel | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

Further reports about: Polymers Self-Healing Plastic plastic repair process self-healing

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump
14.11.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Automated adhesive film placement and stringer integration for aircraft manufacture
15.11.2018 | Fraunhofer IFAM

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>