A group of researchers from Northwestern University developed a self-repairing metal coating.
The material can repair itself in just seconds after scratching, scraping or cracking. Dr. Alane Lim et al. Dr. The results of his research under the leadership of Jiaxing Huang were published in Research.
It is very difficult to prevent or detect small cracks on metal surfaces. However, they can grow gradually over time and even cause the destruction of huge structures. In the past, there were veneer materials that repair themselves. However, these materials were only able to repair micrometer (one millionth of a meter) damage.
The new coating material developed by the researchers can repair even millimeter damage in seconds. Even when the same area was drawn 200 times in a row during the experiments, it was seen that the material was able to repair itself over and over again.
The researchers began their studies considering that the best coating materials can be made from oil-like fluid materials. Ordinary oils, however, are extremely fluid to be coating materials. The fluidity of the material to be developed had to be both high enough to flow spontaneously and low enough to adhere to the surfaces.
To this end, the researchers created a “light particle web” in the coating oil. The particles allow the oil to adhere to the surface. However, when there is a scratch or cracking, the coating oil leaks and repairs the damage.
The researchers tested the coating material they developed in water and even in acid pools. The results show that the material is very good at holding onto metal surfaces.
Metals exposed to corrosive fluids or submerged parts of bridges and boats can be painted with this coating material, thereby preventing minor damage from growing over time.