"Healing is a matter of time, but sometimes also a matter of opportunity."
Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine"
Our bodies have the capacity to heal themselves, being covered in a remarkable self-healing material—skin. Man-made materials, though, did not have this benefit until American Scott White and his University of Illinois team created self-healing polymers in 2001.
Self-healing materials are composites consisting of microcapsules that contain a healing agent and small amounts of a catalyst, which allows the healing agent to repair damage to the material. Usually a material deteriorates over time due to damage from microcracking—faults that ''allow larger cracks to develop. With self-healing materials, microcracks rupture the microcapsules, the healing agent comes into contact with the catalyst, and the fault is filled in, These materials boast a long lifespan and are expected to prove invaluable, particularly for artificial organs and use in the space industry.
Self-healing materials have a more...