Self-Healing Larger Wounds

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Science  09 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6184, pp. 555
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6184.555-f

By loading a polymer with pockets of monomer, it is possible to heal small cracks in a sample through the polymerization of the monomer following the formation of a crack. However, large holes are much harder to repair. White et al. (p. 620; see the Perspective by Zhao and Arruda) developed a vascular-like repair system involving a dual-stage strategy to self-heal epoxy thermosets. After injecting a damaged site with precursors, a gel with reversible cross-links rapidly formed, so the material stayed in place that then solidified further upon cross-linking. The approach successfully patched holes larger than 3 centimeters in diameter.

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