Self-healing materials have the potential to repair induced damage and extend the service life of aerospace or civil components as well as prevent catastrophic failure. A novel technique to provide self-healing capabilities at the nanoscale in carbon nanotube/epoxy nanocomposites is presented in this paper. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) functionalized with the healing agent (dicyclopentadiene) were used to fabricate self-healing CNT/epoxy nanocomposite films. The structure of CNTs was considered suitable for this application since they are nanosized, hollow, and provide a more consistent size distribution than polymeric nanocapsules. Specimens with different weight fractions of the functionalized CNTs were fabricated to explore the effect of weight fraction of functionalized CNTs on the extent of healing. Optical micrographs with different fluorescent filters showed partial or complete healing of damage approximately two to three weeks after damage was induced. Results indicate that by using CNTs to encapsulate a healing agent, crack growth in self-healing CNT/epoxy nanocomposites can be retarded, leading to safer materials that can autonomously repair itself.
E. Quigley, S. Datta, and A. Chattopadhyay, "A novel methodology for self-healing at the nanoscale in CNT/epoxy composites," Proc. SPIE 9806, Smart Materials and Nondestructive Evaluation for Energy Systems 2016, 98060M (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 22, 2016; Published: 1 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218741.
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