Embedded shape memory alloy wires to improve performance of microcapsule-based self-healing polymers
We report the first measurements of a self-healing polymer that combines a microencapsulated liquid healing agent and shape memory alloy (SMA) wires. When a propagating crack ruptures the embedded microcapsules, the liquid healing agent is automatically released into the crack where it contacts a solid catalyst embedded in the matrix. The SMA wires are then activated to close the crack during the healing period. We show that dramatically improved healing performance is obtained by the activation of embedded SMA wires. We conclude that improved healing is due to a reduction of crack volume as a result of pulling the crack faces closed, and more complete polymerization of the healing agent due to the heat produced by the activated SMA wires.