10 December 2008

Material: Heal Thyself! The Brave New World of Synthetic Materials That Self-Heal

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology are giving us the tools to build roads that repair their own potholes, structural beams that mend their own cracks, polymer coatings and paints that erase scratches and dents . . . The list is limited only by the imagination.

The brave new world of self healing materials promises to create a self-perpetuation future that "The World Without Us" would simply not recognise.
To make self-repairing coatings, the researchers first encapsulate a catalyst into spheres less than 100 microns in diameter (a micron is 1 millionth of a meter). They also encapsulate a healing agent into similarly sized microcapsules. The microcapsules are then dispersed within the desired coating material and applied to the substrate.

"By encapsulating both the catalyst and the healing agent, we have created a dual capsule system that can be added to virtually any liquid coating material," said Braun, who also is affiliated with the university's Beckman Institute, Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, department of chemistry, and Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory.

When the coating is scratched, some of the capsules break open, spilling their contents into the damaged region. The catalyst and healing agent react, repairing the damage within minutes or hours, depending upon environmental conditions. _SD
Here is another approach to achieve the same end. The competition is growing, because the economic payoff is obvious. Self healing electronics is another exciting branch of this research. The Second International Conference on Self Healing Materials is scheduled to take place in Chicago, from June 28 - July 1, 2009.
...the topics that are selected as the focal points of this international effort on research in Self Healing Materials:

* Asphaltic materials
* Bio-inspired technical materials
* Cementitious materials
* Composites and hybrids
* Metals
* Paints and other coatings
* Structural polymers
* Biological systems
* Theoretical models related to Self Healing
* Characterisation of Self Healing behaviour
_SelfHealingMaterials Delft
Personally, I am looking for self-sealing spacecraft, orbiting habitats and lunar stations. Self-repairing seastead flotation structures are another must, for the extreme colonist who wishes to survive the every day hazards of an extreme environment. These new nano-tools will make it much easier to survive the rigours of the extreme polar environments, undersea habitats, high altitude "orbiting" research stations, and human habitats that must guard its fragile inhabitants from vacuum, near-vacuum, and extreme toxicity.

These are the tools that Next Level humans will use to create the future for themselves, and for their between-level cousins who choose not to make the transition. Surviving the madness of the coming chaos will require all the tools in our kits.


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Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

Anything that could improve the lifespan of roads would be a major advance. There seem to be two types of roads in the world: those that are being repaired and those which are long overdue for repair. And that's just in Canada. I just hope the stuff becomes cheap enough to be cost effective in developing nations. With so much money being lost to corruption they need to make what little gets through to infrastructure go as far as it can. I can't remember if I am talking about Canada or developing nations anymore.

Wednesday, 10 December, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Baron, the problem can be solved by way of smarter immigration policy. If the Anglosphere would only help the third world become a better place -- rather than trying to import the entire third world into its individual countries -- the advanced world may actually have a chance to create the tools for the Next Level.

Self-fixing roads, self-repairing pipes, self-sealing tires, etc. would go a long way toward reducing the mundane problems of everyday existence. With self-healing structural beams, bridges never need to collapse, nor do buildings in earthquake zones.

The more extreme colonies that I enjoy thinking about would obviously enjoy a powerful boost from self-healing materials.

As long as the idiots in control of North America, Europe, and Oceania don't screw it up by wasting all our resources on phony climate science and other corrupt nonsense.

Wednesday, 10 December, 2008  

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