Healable Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composites

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Puncture- healing thermoplastic resin carbon fiber reinforced composites towards more damage/impact tolerant systems

NASA Langley Research Center has developed carbon fiber reinforced composites with self-healing properties. The initiation and propagation of damage to carbon composites, such as in aircraft structural components, results in component failure. Typical structural repairs result in damaging practices, where material is ground away and holes are drilled to secure patches, which can act as new sites for damage. This technology exhibits effective self-repair that heals quickly following low to mid velocity impacts, while retaining structural integrity.


* Healable system following low to mid velocity impacts
* Aerospace quality carbon fiber composites
* Extends life of typical carbon fiber components
* Self-healing properties do not require microcapsules, which can act as defect initiators



The Technology

Through transmission c-scan of Healable composite panel post-impact (A) and post-impact, post-healing cycle (B).
A composite fabrication process cycle was developed from composite precursor materials developed at LaRC to fabricate composite laminates. The precursor material is a pre-impregnated unidirectional carbon fiber preform, or prepreg. In the pre-pregging process, the high strength, structural reinforcing carbon fiber is wetted by a solution containing a self-healing polymer. The resulting material is of aerospace quality and exhibits a significant decrease of internal damage following impacts tests (using ASTM D 7137 standard).

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  • Name:
    Nasa Langley Research Center
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    LaRC Technology Gateway
  • Profession:
    Marketing Communications Specialist
  • Patent status: