Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers

Materials and Coatings
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers (LAR-TOPS-132)
Polymer strands utilizing mechanically responsive chemical groups to induce self-healing
NASA Langley Research Center is developing an innovative self-healing resin that automatically reacts to mechanical stimuli. Current structural materials are not self-healing, making it necessary to depend on complicated and potentially destructive repair methods and long down times. Unlike other proposed self-healing materials that use microencapsulated healing agents, this technology utilizes viscoelastic properties from inherent structure properties. The resulting technology is a self-healing material with rapid rates of healing and a wide range of use temperatures.

The Technology
The method chemically introduces mechanically sensitive chemical groups into the structure of a resin. By introducing mechanoresponsive functional groups to a polymer, it is possible to induce self-healing through the transformation of such chemical groups to where mechanical properties of a structure are almost completely restored. The forces imparted by a damage event can therefore be used to enable healing or repair of the structure.
Prototype space exploration habitat susceptible to micrometeoroid damage 
Illustration of mechanoresponsive healing response within fractions of seconds after a damage event.
  • Healing capability at elevated temperatures
  • Fast healing rates (less than 100 microseconds)
  • Healing without the need of foreign inserts or fillers (via structural chemistry)

  • Aircraft
  • Rotocraft
  • Spacecraft
Technology Details

Materials and Coatings
Stay up to date, follow NASA's Technology Transfer Program on:
facebook twitter linkedin youtube
Facebook Logo Twitter Logo Linkedin Logo Youtube Logo