Autonomous Materials Systems University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Microvascular Systems

Background, Interpretation, and Significance

Optical image of self-healing structure after cracks are formed in the coating, revealing the presence of excess healing fluid on the coating surface [scale bar = 5 mm].

This manuscript introduces a new generation of bioinspired materials that are able to repeatedly and autonomically heal crack damage through the incorporation of embedded microvascular networks. Delivery of healing agents to a damaged region via this microvascular network overcomes a significant limitation of previously reported, microencapsulated-based self-healing materials [White et al, 409, Nature, 794-797, 2001] i.e., the finite supply of healing agent contained within the capsules. The microvascular delivery mechanism provides a renewable source for the healing agents, which therefore enables repeated healing of fracture events and significantly extends the life of these materials. More...

Links to the Online Publication of our article in Nature Materials


cracks1 blue_wick filling healed
DSC_0139 DSC_0141 capillary cracked
Cube1 Cube2 Cube3 Cube4
UV_masked_network_beam blocked_network_beam beam_bluecoat_greyback syringe
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Video of network cracking
Network Cracking

Video of healing agent in cracks under loading
Healing Agent Delivery


Photo of K.T. Toohey

Kathleen S. Toohey, Scott R. White, Jennifer A. Lewis, Jeffrey S. Moore and Nancy R. Sottos, ''Self-Healing Materials with Microvascular Networks'', Nature Materials.

Published on line June 10, 2007, DOI: 10.1038/nmat1934.

Lead Author, Kathleen S. Toohey received her PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May, 2007. She is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Microvascular Autonomic Composites Group at the Beckman Institute.

Autonomous Materials Systems - Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign