Skin-like healing demonstrated in new coating system technology

2017-07-12

Scott White and co-workers have developed a novel microfluidic component, an accumulator, for the storage and release of healing fluids in a regenerative coating system. This image shows the deformation of the accumulator when pressurized with overlaid contours of the deformation from 3D digital image correlation.
Scott White and co-workers have developed a novel microfluidic component, an accumulator, for the storage and release of healing fluids in a regenerative coating system. This image shows the deformation of the accumulator when pressurized with overlaid contours of the deformation from 3D digital image correlation.
The latest development Aerospace Engineering at Illinois Prof. Scott White and his group have made with autonomously-healing materials draws inspiration from the way skin heals when damaged.

The Advanced Science News website provides details of “A Microvascular System for the Autonomous Regeneration of Large Scale Damage in Polymeric Coatings,” a paper led by former PhD student Ryan Gergely (Mechanical Science and Engineering) recently published in the Advanced Engineering Materials journal in collaboration with AE affiliate Prof. Nancy Sottos.

“It’s the first demonstration of a system that repeatedly regrows or regenerates a surface,” White said. “We demonstrated four cycles of growth and removal with no degradation of properties.

“A vascular network supplies the chemical components for regeneration,” he continued. “The regeneration chemistry is one that originated for self-healing systems. The damage-triggered regeneration of the coating is inspired by self-healing structural materials.”

The new technology releases a controlled amount of healing fluid when a surface coating wears. Exposed to simulated sunlight, the fluid cures and regenerates the coating with properties that match the original coating.

White envisions the technology will be useful for surfaces that are continually abraded, such as helicopter blades, bearings and protective coatings.