Sustainable self-healing at ultra-low temperatures in structural composites incorporating hollow vessels and heating elements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Zhichun Zhang
  • Jinjun Li
  • Yanju Liu
  • Jinsong Leng

Colleges, School and Institutes


Self-healing composites are able to restore their properties automatically. Impressive healing efficiencies can be achieved when conditions are favourable. On the other hand, healing might not be possible under adverse circumstances such as very low ambient temperature. Here, we report a structural composite able to maintain its temperature to provide a sustainable self-healing capability – similar to that in the natural world where some animals keep a constant body temperature to allow enzymes to stay active. The composite embeds three-dimensional hollow vessels with the purpose of delivering and releasing healing agents, and a porous conductive element to provide heat internally to defrost and promote healing reactions. A healing efficiency over 100% at around -60 ⁰C was obtained. The effects of the sheets on the interlaminar and tensile properties have been experimentally investigated. The proposed technique can be implemented in a majority of extrinsic self-healing composites to enable automatic recovery at ultra-low temperatures.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number9
Early online date1 Sep 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Sep 2016


  • Carbon nanotubes, Self-healing, Fibre-reinforced composites, Delamination, Self-repair, Smart materials