Today out of Britain: Scientists have developed a way for aircraft to self-repair small cracks in wings and the fuselage.
Researchers from the University of Bristol have been working on a new technology that will heal parts of an aircraft much like human skin repairs itself, according to a report in the Independent. “It involves adding tiny, hollow ‘microspheres’ to the carbon material — so small that they look like a powder to the human eye — which break on impact, releasing a liquid healing agent,” the Independent reports.
“If we do get damaged, we bleed, and it scabs and heals. We just put that same sort of function into a synthetic material: let’s have something that can heal itself,” professor Duncan Wass, team leader on the project, told the Independent.
The researchers say that tests show that materials are “stronger” after they’ve “healed” with the solution.
They anticipate the solutions will be available in the near future, with many other viable commercial applications, including fixing small cracks in bike frames and wind turbines — potentially even fixing those cracked smartphone screens.