Healable thermoset polymer composite embedded with stimuli-responsive fibres

Guoqiang Li, Harper Meng, Jinlian Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Severe wounds in biological systems such as human skin cannot heal themselves, unless they are first stitched together. Healing of macroscopic damage in thermoset polymer composites faces a similar challenge. Stimuli-responsive shape-changing polymeric fibres with outstanding mechanical properties embedded in polymers may be able to close macro-cracks automatically upon stimulation such as heating. Here, a stimuli-responsive fibre (SRF) with outstanding mechanical properties and supercontraction capability was fabricated for the purpose of healing macroscopic damage. The SRFs and thermoplastic particles (TPs) were incorporated into regular thermosetting epoxy for repeatedly healing macroscopic damages. The system works by mimicking self-healing of biological systems such as human skin, close (stitch) then heal, i.e. close the macroscopic crack through the thermal-induced supercontraction of the SRFs, and bond the closed crack through melting and diffusing of TPs at the crack interface. The healing efficiency determined using tapered double-cantilever beam specimens was 94 per cent. The self-healing process was reasonably repeatable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3279-3287
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number77
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2012


  • Biomimetic
  • Macroscopic damage
  • Self-healing
  • Smart fibre
  • Spider silk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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