JOM
, Volume 66, Issue 6, pp 866-871
Date: 05 Apr 2014

Self-Healing Metals and Metal Matrix Composites

Abstract

Self-healing in inorganic materials is a relatively new area in materials science and engineering that draws inspiration from biological systems that can self-repair damage. This article reviews the preliminary attempts to impart self-healing behavior to metals. Several challenges yet exist in the development of metallic alloys that can self-repair damage, including surface bonding issues, such as liquid/solid contact angle (wetting) and oxidation, and practical issues, such as capillary pressure for delivery of a liquid metal to a damaged area or crack, and the overall mechanical properties of a composite system. Although the applied research approaches reviewed have obtained marginal success, the development of self-healing metallic systems has the potential to benefit a wide range of industrial applications and thus deserves greater investment in fundamental research.