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Metal Triflates as Catalytic Curing Agents in Self-Healing Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composite Materials



A self-healing, high performance, fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composite material is demonstrated by employing a Lewis acid-catalysed epoxy self-healing agent (SHA) within a laminate manufactured using existing industrial methods. Thermal cure analysis and mechanical testing is employed to characterise the self-healed polymer. A bio-inspired series of vascules incorporated into an FRP composite material facilitates the delivery of SHAs to exposed fractured crack planes. Healing is effected by ring-opening polymerisation (ROP) of an epoxy resin using novel metal triflate catalysts injected after Mode I crack opening displacement. Strong adhesive compatibility with the host matrix confers full recovery of mechanical properties (>99% healing).mame201300026-gra-0001