Composites Self-Heal at Very Low Temperatures

Scientists developed a method of allowing materials, commonly used in aircraft, to self-heal cracks at temperatures well below freezing. A healing efficiency of more than 100% at temperatures of -60 °C was obtained in a glass fiber-reinforced laminate, but the technique could be applied across a majority of self-healing composites.

Tests were run using a copper foam sheet or a carbon nanotube sheet as the conductive layer. The latter of the two was able to self-heal more effectively, with an average recovery of 107.7% in fracture energy and 96.22% in peak load. The group will look to develop new healing mechanisms for more composites that can recover effectively, regardless of the size of faults in any condition.