Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created capsules that hold conductive nanotubes and can sit on circuit boards. Mechanical stress that causes a crack in the circuit would also split open some capsules and release the nanotubes to help bridge the gap.
Technology Review reports that outside experts praised the concept, which appeared last week in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.
The concept of self-repairing electric circuits could especially help submarines or satellites in situations when manual repair becomes impractical. Even lithium-ion batteries could benefit and avoid failures that could occasionally lead to explosive fires.
[via Technology Review]
People have been dreaming up self healing materials since the dawn of science fiction. In application, getting materials to self-heal has been a great challenge. With the large amount of funding flowing into Nano, it was inevitable that they would return to self healing materials as an application option.
This particular technology, capsules holding carbon nanotubes could provide a reasonable means of healing many materials. Let hope it doesn't get caught up in endless research loops and never released to industry.
Dr. Brian Glassman
Ph.D in Innovation Management from Purdue University
To keep very, very large and very long distance space craft intact after meteor impacts, I envision thousands of tiny r-bots (repair robots) climbing all around both the outside and inside of the hull sensing and repairing any damage. When damage is found, the r-bot would repeat the report of the damage to the nearest other r-bots who would swarm to the site like ants and drop their load of repair goop.
Fromt this article: “Mechanical stress that causes a crack in the circuit would also split open some capsules and release the nanotubes to help bridge the gap.” Leads me to think that the goop for repairing these holes should be nanotubes (or perhaps the entire spaceship could be constructed from nanotubes?).
Each r-bot would also repeat the distress alarm to all the others until the signal reaches one of the many WiFi antennas. A larger damaged area would have thousands of various sized r-bots responding with the necessary nanotubes repair materials within seconds!
Of course long and short distance telescopes would be able to detect many of the approaching objects. And laser and tractor beams could be used to control, defect, capture, or destroy approaching meteors. Indeed capturing meteors, asteroids, and perhaps even small moons and planets, may be the means of obtaining the resources to make major repairs.
May humans thrive, prosper and travel to the stars!
I've been following this sort of application for various purposes for quite awhile (as a layman, though, not as a scientist), and it's fascinating to me. Not to mention promising.
Dr. Glassman, you make some very good points -- perhaps particularly in your closing sentence.
He also said 162 roadside bombs and over 120 kg of explosive materials, five suicide vests and five barrels of acid used in making homemade bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have also seized by Afghan troops over the mentioned period of time