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Smart Mater. Struct. 16 (2007) 1198–1207 doi:10.1088/0964-1726/16/4/031

Self-healing composite sandwich
H R Williams, R S Trask and I P Bond
ACCIS—Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science, Department of Aerospace
Engineering, University of Bristol, Queen’s Building, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TR, UK


Received 7 December 2006, in final form 4 May 2007
Published 29 June 2007
Online at
Impact damage can degrade the flexural strength of composite sandwich
structures by over 50% due to a loss of skin support inducing localized skin
buckling. Various self-healing methodologies have been applied to laminated
composites but the concept of delivering a healing agent from a remote
reservoir to a region of damage via a vascular network offers the potential for
a robust and replenishable system housed in the core of a sandwich structure.
In this pilot study a vascular sandwich structure that appears as a conventional
sandwich composite has been developed and tested. The network has been
shown to have negligible influence on the innate static mechanical properties
of the host panel. Infiltration of the vascular network with a pre-mixed epoxy
resin system after impact damage demonstrated a complete recovery of
flexural failure mode and load. Infiltration with the same resin system from
separate unmixed networks, where self-healing is initiated autonomously via
mixing within the damage, has also been shown to fully recover undamaged
failure load when both networks are successfully breached.
(Some figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version)

1. Introduction are significantly reduced above some threshold energy and
then drop asymptotically to around 50% of the initial strength,
Sandwich structures offer very high specific flexural stiffness although the overall strength loss varies on a case-by-case
by using high performing skin materials, such as glass or basis. Thomson et al (1998) and Mouritz and Thomson
carbon fibre composite, separated by a lightweight core. This (1999) have investigated the reduction in flexural strength
makes them an attractive design option in aerospace and of glass–fibre vinyl ester skinned, PVC cored sandwich
marine applications. Extensive reviews of the literature on structures subject to repeated impact to produce a disbond
impact to sandwich structures have been performed by Abrate across the width of a beam specimen. Residual static flexural
(1997, 1998) and Tomblin et al (1999). The large numbers strength was found to reduce significantly above a damage
of variables in sandwich structure design and manufacture size threshold. This threshold corresponded with a change
means that, in most cases, the impact behaviour of each in final failure mode from core shear to skin buckling.
configuration must be assessed on its own merits. The general Shipsha et al (2003) have also extensively investigated the
conclusions from several studies (Akay and Hanna 1990, Ishai influence of impact on core damage and resulting core shear
and Hiel 1992, Weeks and Sun 1994, Nenes and Simmonds and skin compressive failure modes in flexural samples. A
1992, Kim and Jun 1992) are that low velocity impact causes two-dimensional configuration with damage extending to the
damage to the impacted skin, skin–core interface and the sample edge was used to assist visual observation. Under
core material itself. The damage differs from typical impact flexural test with the impact site located between the loading
damage in composite laminates primarily by the formation noses, the compressive strength of the skins was drastically
of a cohesive disbond in the core just under the impacted reduced due to localized buckling. The failure stress reduced
face; this damage mode absorbs energy and the delamination from 63% of the undamaged state after a 6.6 J impact to only
area in the face laminate is reduced compared to that in a 13% of the undamaged strength after 40 J impact. Further
laminated plate alone (Kim and Jun 1992). Residual strengths studies have investigated static indentation of panels (Zenkert

0964-1726/07/041198+10$30.00 © 2007 IOP Publishing Ltd Printed in the UK 1198

The concept is that the temperature was selected to limit deformation of the PVC contents of a reservoir are delivered to a damage site via a tubing. UK) based microcapsule and hollow fibre self-healing approaches was laid into the channel after adhesive had been spread used to date have combined the functions of delivery and over the surfaces of both surfaces. damage could cause failure while initiates the cure of the repair agent. the physical infiltration effort. The effect of damage to sandwich structures can be managed using a damage-tolerant philosophy such as that described by Tomblin and colleagues (Tomblin et al 1999). The risers themselves were therefore holes in the 1199 . Whilst repair techniques are of enormous importance. Levels of damage must be related to service loading to ensure that damage can be successfully managed in operation. Manufacture of vascular sandwich panels. they require structure is described along with a series of experiments to prior diagnosis of damage and are usually impractical for use quantify the effect of the vascular network on the baseline whilst the system is in operation. Both a microencapsulated reduces the residual strength. two half cores of 5 mm thickness were used. Manufacture Alternatively.5 mm deep were machined expected to perform well with open cracks or voids in the core into one of the half cores. Kessler and White 2001. UK) was selected on the basis of biomimetic vascular network as an advance on existing liquid material properties. appeared as a conventional core. The physical process the system is in operation. in this case by the application in more detail in this section. This produced a core of 10. Bleay et al 2001.1. capacity for room temperature cure and based healing approaches. easy viewing of the damage non- Several self-healing methodologies have been applied destructively and. solid-state healing approaches using polymers Sandwich cores were manufactured from 52 kg m−3 Rohacell with the ability to re-bond (Chen et al 2002. manufacture and test to the midplane. but incorporated vessels close This paper describes the design. philosophy would be to take a biologically inspired approach Four-point bend flexural testing with two-dimensional damage and make the structure multifunctional by incorporating a self. approaches and self-healing in mammals and identified a Corebond 340 (SPSystems. Higher factors of safety can be used is assessed using a pre-mixed resin system as a step towards to increase the damage tolerance of a structure. of the healing approach.5 mm internal such as observed in impact damaged sandwich panels. Solid-state healing approaches could not be Straight channels 2 mm wide and 2. even the mechanical properties of the panel.5 mm thickness that network of vessels contained in the core of the sandwich panel. Liquid diameter and 2. 2. Trask 2. Bull and Edgren 2004. Self-healing composite sandwich structures et al 2004). 2003) or undergo polymethacrylimide closed-cell foam. this approach. Vascular self-healing system and Bond 2006) are limited to some extent by the available volume of healing agent which cannot be easily replenished. Kessler et al 2003. Damaged skin and core is usually removed and the core replaced with inserts. A schematic representa- a form of thermoplastic pinning (Hayes et al 2007) at elevated tion of the manufacture process for samples containing a vas- temperatures require an external feedback system to sense cular network is shown in figure 1. Brown et al 2005) and hollow glass fibres that break under impact damage (Dry 1996. the cure allowing replenishment of the system. Conventional repair of more serious damage requires of a repair resin into the damage initiated by the rupture the system to be taken out of operation for some time (Aitken of the containment vessels and the chemical process that et al 2000). Edgren et al 2004) have been used to develop an overall damage assessment scheme for marine sandwich structures of different thicknesses subject to damage from a variety of impactor shapes and energies. This has proven successful for damage on the laminate appropriate to produce a consistent midplane bond using scale. In the worst case. To form the network. because this form of damage significantly to composite materials to date. Healing is not autonomous with Initially. An alternative the autonomous self-repair incorporating a two-part network. of heat or temperature. Trask et al (2007) have reviewed these self-healing this manufacture technique was found to be 1390 g m−2 . PVC tubing of 1. In the best case. The self-healing approach assessment and repair of minor damage requires unwelcome described relies on two processes. with a bonded patch placed over the top to restore the skin. This healing ability to complement damage-tolerant design. Three linked studies (Zenkert et al 2005. Pang and Bond 2005.5 mm external diameter (Altec Ltd. The total resin coverage storage. and the process is described damage and initiate healing. explored the relaxation of the residual dent (Rizov et al 2005) and compared static indentation with impact behaviour (Schubel et al 2005). introduced through a cylindrical impactor was selected. approach allowed simplified sample manufacture of a wide range of design cases. 1. provided a rigorous assessment monomer and dispersed catalyst approach (White et al 2001. allowing multiple healing events and was oven cured in a vacuum bag at 60 ◦ C for 5 h. Abrate (1998) summarizes the key methods of repairing impact Figure 1. The centreline bond in sandwich structures. damage to sandwich structures. The manufacture of the vascular sandwich locations. A vascular network offers the high viscosity to avoid open channels becoming filled with advantages of addressing the larger damage volume expected resin during later processing stages.5 mm holes were of a simple vascular sandwich panel incorporating a self. drilled through the core and into the tubes at appropriate healing ability.

Mean skin stress at the failure of vascular sandwich beams of various configurations.8 kN m−2 . one-piece Rohacell core. This was also spread over both surfaces to ensure a considerations. This to give maximum clearance from the damage zone that would is a conservative method that could be refined in future studies. Not to scale. These are shown schematically in figure 3. Square load spreaders of 30 mm width Figure 3. Composite skins 300 mm square of Three specimens of each of these configurations were [0. To minimize this risk. 2. each sectioned from pre-impregnated E-glass/913 epoxy (Hexcel. along with the four-point bend flexural test set-up. Schematic representation of a two-part vascular network network. A loading span of 90 mm was selected under deadweight pressure of approximately 2. the risk of the network becoming blocked for this comparative pilot study. A schematic representation of a vascular sandwich panel designed for a two-part resin system. The midplane bond and vascular network was eliminated from these samples by using closed cell foam core.2. the skin skin driven flexural failure modes in the later work on impact bonding operation was completed at room temperature for 24 h damaged specimens.5 mm nominal thickness were prepared manufactured from two 300 mm square panels.1. were compared with beams in which the cores had various After this time the plugs were solid enough to be manually combinations of channels. Effect on mechanical properties In order to assess the comparative mechanical performance of conventional sandwich beams and those containing a vascular Figure 2. the calibration accuracy was judged sufficient risers were plugged.5 mm thick. Testing to enhance the performance of all the bond lines. 90]s layup and 0. Additional Corebond 340 adhesive a 10. UK) at load cell. is shown in figure 2. a range of sandwich configurations were prepared and sandwich beam and four-point bend test set-up. Six conventional sandwich beams were sectioned from a larger panel. The top face of each conditioned at 20 ◦ C for at least 24 h before flexural testing. Although it is a large capacity load cell for the consistent bond with minimum bonding pressure. This was the maximum A postcure of 60 ◦ C for 5 h was then applied to the whole panel clearance allowed by the geometry of the test fittings. UK) using into nine specimens 30 mm in width. Four-point bend testing was due to skin–core bond resin entering the network through an undertaken with a support span of 250 mm chosen to promote imperfect plug was considered.H R Williams et al processes have been completed. The manufacture was applied to plug the exposed holes and allowed to gel for was otherwise identical to that described in section 2. bonding to the skins. The selection of this machine was driven by practical 830 g m−2 . These 24 h at 20 ◦ C to seal the network for the subsequent stages. be introduced in later specimens. Samples were the recommended autoclave cure cycle. plate was then sanded using P120 grit silicon carbide paper Beams were tested in four-point bending according to ASTM and lightly solvent cleaned using acetone. The network was performed under displacement control at a test speed is filled with liquid healing agent(s) after all manufacturing of 2 mm min−1 . subjected to flexural testing. The skins were C393 on a Roell Amsler vertical axis test machine with a 25 kN bonded to the core using Corebond 340 (SPSystems. tubes and risers to assess the sanded flush with the surface of the core in preparation for influence of each. Although the tests undertaken. 1200 .

The mass of the tubing itself is small compared to the buckling. within a foam cored sandwich structure has a negligible overall the downstream end of the network was clamped and the effect on the flexural strength of the structure within the syringe plunger removed to open the reservoir to ambient density of features considered. so these figures could failure mode was restored to a core shear failure remote from certainly be considered an upper bound on mass penalty. A further caveat is that the bend testing was undertaken as described in section 2. observation of loads in these terms for comparison. commencing at a point in the load displacement additional adhesive required to bond the midplane of the split curve which appears in some cases as a distinct load drop and core. the integrity of the network and drew out trapped air. The healed samples were prepared by filling the network with where P is the failure load. Mass penalty of vascular network.1. Undamaged. The the sample. the damage site. To ensure these did not failure mode. L 2 and L 1 are the outer and inner Ampreg 20 epoxy laminating resin (SPSystems. Self-healing composite sandwich structures Table 1. ratio of 4:1 by weight. This is an inexpensive resin system the mean for each sample group and schematic representations giving good working time. Two different drop heights (108 and P(L 2 − L 1 ) 130 mm) were used for samples from the two panels to give σskin = (1) 2btf (tf + tc ) different impact energies of 3. b is the beam width. These experiments indicate that even with 3. 3. Initiation of self-healing Configuration Normalized beam mass 3. Results and discussion a relatively unrefined manufacturing approach a self-healing system of this configuration can be incorporated into the core The width-normalized load–crosshead displacement responses space of a sandwich structure loaded in flexure with minimal at the two impact energies are shown in figures 4 and 5.6 J respectively. Considerable manufacturing refinements can post-buckled increase in load. In is a mass penalty associated with introducing the vascular the damaged specimens the failure mode was changed to skin network. UK) pre- support spans. Regardless of failure the infiltrated damage zone after self-healing.2. Strips of masking tape 60 × 12 mm were stuck investigation would need to be extended. thus it is convenient to express all failure visualization of damage and. Bull and Edgren 2004.00 Single tube with risers 1. reasonable mechanical properties of each configuration in cross section are shown in figure 3. tf is the face thickness and mixed with the corresponding slow hardener at the specified tc the core thickness. even though the failure mode is core shear. Test Procedure Baseline: no midplane bond 1. Four-point by a high density of risers. investigation into the spacing between vertical risers would they were also added to the damaged samples. This is very much a function of the current manufacturing in others as a noticeable change of gradient or ‘knee’. normalized to the was a core shear crack located midway between the loading mass of the baseline specimen. In this flexural to the edges of the healed samples before impact in the damage loading case. shear failure dominates over the compressive zone to contain the bleeding resin. (1995) as Edgren et al 2004). damaged and healed specimens (three with flexible pads were used to distribute the load to prevent each per panel) were selected from random positions in the localized failure under the loading noses.0 J and 3. In the healed specimens the be expected as the technology matures. and there has been no attempt to optimize the vascular loading caused progressive core crushing that allowed some configuration. The relatively mode. the skin stress at failure gives a fair comparison of the large impactor diameter was found to give only core damage. Once the network was filled using a syringe. and to investigate the effect of various features. The damaged and healed specimen groups were by core shear approximately midway between the loading and subjected to uninstrumented drop weight impact of a 50 mm support points. Further process. If the density The resin was allowed to infiltrate the damage and to cure for of the features were to be increased significantly then this 36 h at 20 ◦ C. The skin stress at failure for each sample.21 Two 300 × 300 mm panels were prepared according to the Double tube with risers 1. This produced a momentary vacuum that confirmed stages do increase the variability of the failure load marginally. The data have been expressed in terms of skin diameter cylindrical drop weight of manufacturing process described in section 2. In disruption to the innate properties. In a purely compressive structure further cause different damage formation in the two sample groups. 1201 . The These configurations were selected to be representative of the syringe was elevated to give a static head of 430 mm above currently envisaged form of a self-healing vascular network the damaged face and the samples impacted in this condition. In a simpler case than the combination of core and facesheet the case of a sandwich beam subjected to four-point bending damage usually associated with localized loading of sharper the skin compressive stress at failure σskin is given by Zenkert impact heads (Zenkert et al 2005. The mean masses of the all cases the final failure modes of the undamaged specimens test specimen groups are given in table 1.8 kg across the width of stress at failure. load-carrying capacity of the structure in this configuration. The use of this two-dimensional damage case as an rationale for this is that the failure of damaged specimens in idealized form of impact damage to sandwich panels has been flexure or edgewise compression is driven by the compressive discussed by Shipsha et al (2003) as it allows non-destructive stress in the skin. in this case. The additional processing pressure. This table shows that there and support noses preceded by core compressive yielding. from cure at ambient conditions and low component and mixed The data show that the incorporation of a vascular network viscosities. All samples failed panel. influence on riser density on fatigue of the core has not been considered. The panels were sectioned into nine beam specimens of nominally 30 mm in width. They were be required to ascertain if the skins risk being destabilized removed from all samples before flexural testing.

The damaged traces been taken as the point of first significant load fall or the knee in in figure 4 show a reduction in buckling and ultimate load and the curve in cases where there is no distinct fall. consistently restored by this approach. the ultimate load attained in performance of the damaged specimen at the lower energy was taken as the point of failure since the traces remain broadly level does not detract from the success of the self-healing linear until close to failure. whereby the higher Figure 6 reflects the trends in the load traces. the damaged that these loads could be considered somewhat arbitrary but traces in figure 5 show both a significantly reduced buckling they represent a good indication of the first point at which and ultimate post-buckled load. Figure 5. Within the range of structural failure stresses are shown in figure 6 expressed as impact energies studied the failure mode and strength can be skin compressive stresses at failure for comparison purposes.6 J and undamaged specimens from the same panel.H R Williams et al Figure 4. this has similar traces for the two different panels. the variation core shear yielding and then fracture. Load traces for damaged and self-healed beams impacted at ∼3 J and undamaged specimens from the same panel. but reduced scatter. The 44% and 19% of the undamaged load. It is accepted significant scatter. Real impact damage In the undamaged and healed cases the failure mode is by a is clearly subject to significant scatter. but is more compromised. This could the structural performance of the specimens has been severely be the influence of using an unguided drop weight. likely to be a threshold damage effect. In the damaged specimens the mechanism because the results suggest that this variability 1202 . showing energy impact ensures complete disbonding across the sample first that impact damage in this configuration and material has width—which cannot be assured for lower energy levels—and reduced the mean flexural strength of the specimens to between so the buckling and ultimate loads are more consistent. At the higher impact energy. The undamaged and healed specimens are shown to have buckling load has been taken as the point of failure. Load traces for damaged and self-healed beams impacted at ∼3. however.

The limitation at this stage is that the healing agent is not chemically initiated to cure by the impact damage: in this instance the two parts of the resin system have been pre-mixed and the system would not have sufficient ‘shelf life’ for any real application.1. The and physical initiation damage void has been infiltrated with pre-mixed epoxy resin healing agent through the vascular network in the core.1. This study shows that the physical mechanism of using with six beams in each test group. Following initiation. less than the time for the resin to cure. Impact was undertaken at a single 1203 . The impact method was modified from the previous modes of a sandwich structure depend on the test geometry experiments with the use of a guided impactor of the same mass and sample skin and core properties. so strictly it is only and geometry. and minimal damage to the syringe plungers removed to open the reservoirs to atmospheric skin. of initiating self-healing in sandwich structures with impact The downstream ends of the tubes were clamped and then the damage confined to the core. Bonding in the additional tubes required an void in the foam core under the impact site has been filled by increase of 25% in the amount of resin used for the midplane healing agent supplied from the vascular network. according to the process in section 2. the difference in failure mode between the damaged and healed specimens mean the overall failure load of this structure has been restored.8 kg cylindrical impactor dropped from 130 mm. configuration has been restored. UK) and healing agent to bleed into the damage is a successful method one with the corresponding ‘slow’ hardener using a syringe. shown schematically from the side. and clearly shows that the cohesive crack and in figure 2. The failure 430 mm. the damage zone is successfully infiltrated under only moderate pressures. damaged and healed specimens were prepared. This damage is typical of sandwich structures with pressure. Test procedure Two further 300 mm × 300 mm panels were prepared can be addressed successfully by the self-healing mechanism. 4. Viewed another way. but for this test confirms that the time required to infiltrate the damage is much these were placed at the midspan position only for simplicity. The syringes were all raised to a static head of relatively brittle cores subject to blunt impact. and curing of the resin restores the undamaged failure mode and strength. Figure 7. Separate risers for resin and hardener were riser is consistently achieved during impact deformation and drilled through the core and tubes as before. Healed specimens had one an impact load to rupture channels in the foam that allows tube infiltrated with Ampreg 20 resin (SPSystems. Autonomous self-healing incorporating chemical impact of a 2. That this bond to produce a bond thickness equivalent to that of the occurred in all samples shows that the rupture of the vertical earlier cases. Double tubes Figure 7 shows a photograph of the region of damage viewed were laid into each beam specimen. This modification was intended to produce a possible to conclude that the flexural strength of this particular more consistent impact. Photograph of a vascular sandwich beam subjected to the 4. Self-healing composite sandwich structures Figure 6. Summary of mechanical performance of beam specimens. Healed specimens infiltrated with pre-mixed resin. Undamaged.

Firstly. In the first panel. By inspection. and one shows no conditions for 36 h at 20 ◦ C. In figure 9 two of the three healed beam specimens to infiltrate with the two components and cure at ambient show evidence of complete self-healing. Results and discussion The mechanical performance of both panels is summa- rized in figure 10. All other conditions were the same as whereas the other two behave very similarly to the damaged those described above. There was some leakage from the evidence of healing. and this was cleaned off before testing. one of the three healed beam This figure clearly shows two distinct groups of healed speci- 1204 . loads of the impact damaged specimens are much higher than Four-point bend flexural testing was then undertaken using the those in figure 4. 4. the mean skin stress at failure in the The width normalized load–displacement behaviour for each damaged specimens is reduced to 47% of the undamaged stress beam is shown in figures 8 and 9. figure 8. the buckling and ultimate edges of the samples. this confirms a considerable improvement in damage figure were sectioned from the same panel. tested in section 3. the same as the higher energy level specimens shows evidence of almost complete self-healing. Figure 9. Load traces for beam specimens from first panel with double-tube vascular network self-healing approach impacted at approximately 3. After impact. suggesting that the double-tube arrangement same configuration as that described above.2. improves the damage tolerance of the beams compared to the beams with single tubes. the damage was allowed beams.6 J and undamaged specimens from the same panel. Load traces for beam specimens from second panel with double-tube vascular network healing approach impacted at approximately 3.6 J and undamaged specimens from the same panel. to the additional reinforcement on the midplane of the core. all curves in the same at failure. The figures show tolerance over the single-tubed specimens that can be attributed that the behaviour was very similar across the two panels.H R Williams et al Figure 8. drop height of 130 mm.

risers had become blocked. and tigated. while the resin does not. the resulting damage in the regions of the risers Rohacell. but no resin or cured epoxy. To unsuccessful. The not. in which case clearly shows no evidence of hardener in the damage zone. Self-healing composite sandwich structures Figure 10. but no cured epoxy is present. The inset shows using a syringe. in the three samples in which healing was not. mens: those that have worked successfully and those that have extensive hardener infiltration. and figure 11(b) skin buckling is either adequately constrained. through the damage zone to trace the failure to infiltrate. The top skin was carefully removed from the region of uncured resin and hardener were found in their respective failure and the damaged region inspected. This implies that the blockages were located a reference specimen of resin and hardener in recesses in in the drilled vertical risers. and the failure matches that of the damaged specimens. It failure reverts to core shear and failure load is restored. Cured Ampreg buckling and extensive core crushing during four-point bend 20 also shows no noticeable fluorescence above that of the testing. showing that the hardener fluoresces strongly The unsuccessfully healed samples underwent skin under ultraviolet light. horizontal supply tubes in all samples. The outer edges of the damage and the immediate meant that it was not possible to identify the reason certain vicinity of the risers show evidence of unreacted hardener. (a) (b) Figure 11. The flexural test is a robust test of the healing effectiveness other two specimens show visual and tactile evidence of resin because it is linked with restoration of original failure mode: infiltration. not the horizontal supply networks. The work presented in section 3. Rohacell foam. (a) Specimens in which healing was successful with inset reference sample showing the fluorescence of the hardener component. 1205 . or it is is suggested that. Summary of mechanical performance of beam specimens with two-part self-healing network. this was due to the failure of one of the two investigate the reason for the unsuccessful self-healing in half parts to infiltrate the damage. of infiltrating the damage. These were found to run Figure 11(a) shows a photograph of the three successfully freely when a light pressure was applied to the end of each tube healed beams viewed under ultraviolet light. Visual and tactile inspection revealed that the centre of the using a single riser delivering pre-mixed resin into the damage damage zone was filled with cured resin. These specimens were sectioned the samples. The most plausible explanation is The specimens in which healing has been unsuccessful are that the close proximity of the hardener and resin risers in the photographed in figure 11(b). Photograph of damage zones of healed sandwich beams. all the beam specimens were destructively inves. with a transition zone. (b) Unsuccessfully healed specimens. showed complete success in the physical mechanism region between this and the unreacted hardener at the edges. One specimen shows evidence of two-part samples may have caused some form of interaction.

restoring the original failure mode and failure load. in cases where both resin and hardener components infiltrated In the samples with successful healing. Nutt S R. References mixed resin system. Humberstone L and of candidate healing systems to be considered. understanding. have been restored. Horrigan D P W and Moltschaniwskyj G 2000 Life assess whether this self-healing system could improve fatigue.H R Williams et al whereby the impact deformation that causes the preferential for infiltrating the void in the foam core that typically results rupture of one riser then blocks the adjacent riser. Half of the samples did not successfully heal: epoxy restored the undamaged flexural failure mode and failure increasing the reliability of this healing approach in a two-part load of a structure in which impact damage reduced the failure network requires an investigation into effect of riser spacing on load to 20% of an undamaged specimen. perhaps due from blunt impact on composite sandwich structures. Further work would be required to Aitken R R. temperature can occur on the intimate contact of the two parts of a resin or moisture activation. room temperature curing laminating top of each riser. two-part system allows the shelf life of the self-healing system to match the life of the component because the delivery of fluids from reservoirs could allow the fluids to be drained and Acknowledgments renewed periodically during the life of the structure. The absolute mechanical properties Akay M and Hanna R 1990 A comparison of honeycomb-core and of the healing agent may not be critical for this application. bleeding mechanism was traced to the vertical risers. Loader C B. in 50% of the self-healing specimens systems usually only give peak performance if thoroughly only one of the components successfully infiltrated the damage mixed in the correct proportions. A low velocity. It is important to note that this conclusion applies to a blunt impact resulting in core-dominated damage. None of the healed samples showed a damage zone completely The authors would like to acknowledge the funding provided filled with cured epoxy—such as demonstrated in the samples by the University of Bristol through a Convocation Scholarship infiltrated with pre-mixed epoxy described in section 3— and Drs Julie Etches and Paul Weaver for useful advice offered and yet restoration of undamaged failure mode has been in the preparation of this paper. identified at this stage. for example shelf Brown E N. To foam-core carbon fibre/epoxy sandwich panels Composites first order. blunt impact head of each riser. A single-part network based self-healing produced damage that would be difficult to detect visually. and the presence of cured epoxy in the including other sandwich failure modes. Self-healing was advantages and disadvantages. and addressing the damage zone implies that the chemical initiation has performed implications of using this self-healing methodology in practical adequately despite the compromised conditions. the failure mode and. Shen H. both resin and the damage site. extending the scope to a two-part network. Conclusions Bull P H and Edgren F 2004 Compressive strength after impact of CFRP-foam core sandwich panels in marine applications A simple vascular sandwich structure consisting of horizontal Composites B 35 535–41 supply channels and vertical riser channels in a closed-cell Chen X X. chemical initiation healing chemistry. 104 509–16 after-impact performance. and impact damage could Cambridge University Press) serve as a starter crack. J. Mal A. This was despite the lack of the thorough hardener were released into the damage zone unmetered and mixing and exact mix ratios usually required by two-part epoxy with no active mixing. perhaps using a solid catalyst. Rupture of a vertical riser containing a thermally remendable highly cross-linked polymeric materials pressurized healing fluid can act as a suitable physical initiation Macromolecules 36 1802–7 1206 . The laminated facings Appl. strictly. As with the pre. The failure of the physical failure mode and load has been demonstrated in these samples. The to movement of the plugs of skin–core bond adhesive in the infiltration of a pre-mixed. However. This The physical mechanism of riser rupture releasing liquid work forms the basis of ongoing research that will focus based healing agent components into the damage zone has on investigating riser interaction. extending this pilot study been demonstrated. demonstrated. Mal A. properties equivalent to that of the foam core may 21 325–31 be all that is required. extension of impact damaged honeycomb sandwich panels Aeronaut. The geometry reliability of initiation. Sci. with minimal damage to the face laminates. Technol. It has been shown that this Sheran K and Wudl F 2002 A thermally re-mendable network has negligible effect on the baseline static mechanical cross-linked polymeric material Science 295 1698–702 Chen X X. This conclusion allows a wider range Bleay S M. Wudl F. 65 2474–80 5. restoration of the original site and no self-healing occurred. By system would require an alternative initiation of the self. Hawyes V J. some of which Curtis P T 2001 A smart repair system for polymer matrix composites Composites A 32 1767–76 may have other advantages in application. 50 69–82 dominant failure mode of sandwich panels subject to fatigue Abrate S 1998 Impact on Composite Structures (Cambridge: is core shear (Sharma et al 2006). These approaches each have their own system supplied through separate channels. Ono K. and no ideal approach has been successful. White S R and Sottos N R 2005 Retardation and repair life or lower viscosity. foam core has been developed. of fatigue cracks in a microcapsule toughened epoxy composite—part II: in situ self-healing Compos. Shen H and Nutt S R 2003 New properties of the panel. the failure Abrate S 1997 Localised impact on sandwich structures with load of this structural configuration. Mech. Despite the fact that epoxy resin resin systems. the components. Crucially. Dam M A. Rev. possibly to derive a minimum spacing and configuration of the impact and flexural test conditions between risers or an improved manufacturing processes that were selected to induce a core shear mode of failure in reduces the size of the skin–core bond resin plug at the the undamaged specimens. albeit with some issues requiring further towards more representative compressive panel configurations.

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