University of Manchester

Observation of the repair process in polymer based micro-encapsulated self-healing materials

Sam McDonald
Project Completed

Scientific Case

With regards to polymer-based self-healing materials, the healing process is based on the presence of microcapsules intentionally embedded into the matrix material. The content of these capsules (such as a monomer) activates upon mechanical damage; the monomer polymerises in the crack plane with the help of a catalyst, which results in a rebinding of the crack faces. Preliminary experiments have proved the ability to image the capsules within the material distinct from the matrix. The aim of this proposal is to use X-ray microtomography to observe cracking and subsequent healing of the crack in situ. In this way we aim to develop an understanding of capsule activation and depletion in 3-D in the vicinity of a growing crack.

Experiment Design

Self-healing capsules and their relationship with crack growth path, and change in crack morphology during healing.

Capsules: 50-200 micron diameter. Crack: down to below 1um at crack tip.
Scanners and Rigs
Xradia MicroXCT
Not Required

Sample & Safety

Low Hazard

Scan Records

Project Report