Self-healing fibers, inspired by blood vessels—achievement by Dr. Jamal Zanjani & co-workers
Blood vessels, like our skin, have a remarkable ability to regenerate and repair themselves. Taking this inspiration, Dr. Jamal Zanjani and co-workers developed fiber-based composite materials that block the propagation of cracks. Dr. Zanjani’s novel approach was to embed fibers containing the self-healing fluid into a composite matrix. When a crack ruptures the fiber, the viscous fluid flows out, but maintains a connection, similar to blood clotting. After increasing the linking between fluid molecules by curing, the fiber is reconnected. These are not ordinary fibers—as triaxial tubes, these fibers can be designed to have an interior surface compatible with the self-healing fluid and an outer surface compatible with the external matrix environment. In his Ph.D. dissertation work, Dr. Zanjani designed these fibers so that they can be produced by electrospinning, incorporated into a stiffer polymer composite matrix, and embedded with fiber sensors to monitor the composite structure for crack formation and repair. This work was funded by TÜBİTAK grant #112M312/COST MP1202 and performed under the supervision of Asst. Prof. Dr. Burcu Saner Okan, Prof. Mehmet Yildiz, and Prof. Yusuf Z. Menceloğlu.