Pump may help materials self repair

In a paper for the Royal Society journal Interface, Nancy Sottos, Scott White, and former graduate student Andrew Hamilton—all researchers at the Beckman Institute of the University of Illinois—report on their active-pumping method.

For this project, Sottos, White, and Hamilton sought to determine the effectiveness of an active pumping mechanism in a microvascular system because, they wrote, relying on capillary flow to disperse the healing agents “limits the size of healable damage” and because “unpressurized delivery of healing agents requires diffusional mixing—a relatively slow and highly localized process for typical resin-hardener systems—to occur for the healing reaction to initiate.”

To achieve active pumping, the researchers experimented with an external “pump” composed of two computer-controlled pressure boxes that allowed for more precise control over flow. The healing agents in the pump were fed into two parallel microchannels.

They found that active pumping improves the degree of mechanical recovery, and that a continuous flow of healing agents from dynamic pumping extends the repeatability of the self-healing response.

Source: futurity.orgAdded: 14 October 2011

Tags: healthcare