Self-healing material also pinpoints damage

A flexible material thatautomatically repairs damage and also pinpoints where it has been wounded hasbeen developed by US researchers. They say it could eventually prove useful forairplane maintenance. The material heals itselfby releasing a syrupy epoxy, stored underneath its outer polymer surface whenthis is breached. The epoxy naturally flows into crack or ruptures and setshard when exposed to UV light.However, circuitry embeddedin the material also reveals exactly where damage has occurred. Anelectromagnetic antenna, within a portable "wand", can be used topinpoint damage from up to 1 metre away. This is because the wand induces acurrent in the embedded circuit when it is intact. When the circuit is damagedthis cannot happen and the wand sounds an alarm."We're envisioningputting this onto an aircraft wing or door," says Jennifer English, whodeveloped the skin with colleagues at the University of Alabama in the US.

Source: newscientisttech.comAdded: 4 October 2006