Self-Healing Materials - Strategic Initiative Materials (SIM)
Publication date 24.01.2012
Self-Healing Materials: the new material hype
Self-Healing Materials are smart materials, such as polymers, ceramics, metals, and composites with the built-in capability to repair damage that would otherwise lead to material failure.
For a material to be defined as self-healing, it is necessary that the healing process occurs autonomously or with minor external stimulus. Nature is a major source of inspiration for this type of research: living organisms already possess the capacity for autonomous damage repair. Just think of healing wounds or repaired broken limbs...
It was only recently that a self-healing property was seriously considered as a desirable function for man-made materials.
Imagine the possibilities it offers! Will it be feasible in the near future to remove scratches from your car while driving through the carwash, or have the E19 road surface repair itself without causing traffic jams?
The race towards developing these materials has begun and a broad spectrum of industries are impacted including aerospace, automotive, transportation, microelectronics, architecture and manufacturing.
Flanders and the Netherlands are taking the lead through large research programs in collaboration with industry. Several research teams (SURF, FYSC, MeMC) at the VUB are actively involved in developing self-healing cement, polymers and coatings as part of the SHE program of SIM. The Strategic Initiative Materials ‘SIM’ is a virtual research center, initiated in 2009 by the Flemish Materials Industry and the Flemish Universities.
Vrije Universiteit Brussel