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Self-Healing System Applied to Aviation

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the if-you-prick-us-do-we-not-bleed dept.

Science 76

ScienceDaily is reporting that the self-healing materials are being used in some new aircraft designs. We covered several self-healing systems in the past months, but it is nice to see it starting to find practical applications. "This simple but ingenious technique, similar to the bruising and bleeding/healing processes we see after we cut ourselves, has been developed by aerospace engineers at Bristol University, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It has potential to be applied wherever fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are used. These lightweight, high-performance materials are proving increasingly popular not only in aircraft but also in car, wind turbine and even spacecraft manufacture. The new self-repair system could therefore have an impact in all these fields."

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Welcome! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23464266)

I for one welcome our self-healing robot overlords and want to remind them that as a trusted slashdot personality I can be of use in rounding up other geeks to work in their medical repair shops.

Re:Welcome! (4, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464696)

I for one welcome our self-healing robot overlords

You know the great thing about bleeding robots? Put enough holes in them and they die just as easily as humans.

We (the human resistance) will remember your allegiances when we send in the full S.W.A.T. team with heavy weaponry and body armor.

Re:Welcome! (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 6 years ago | (#23466292)

You know the great thing about bleeding robots?

If it bleeds, we can kill it!

Re:Welcome! (1)

Castletech (1236226) | more than 6 years ago | (#23466832)

Not to be an ass but haven't these overlord jokes gone too far?

Re:Welcome! (1)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23471014)

Not to be an ass but haven't these overlord jokes gone too far?
There is actually an overlord counter built into the collective slashdot mind. Every time an overlord joke is made, it increments the counter by one. Eventually the counter will reach it's upper limit, known as the Overlord Visible Execution Realisation Limit On Repetitive Drollery (OVERLORD) and all overlord jokes will cease. Unfortunately every time someone complains about the meme, it automatically resets the counter back to zero. So, in summary: thanks a lot you insensitive clod!

Re:Welcome! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477748)

I , for one, welcome are new overused overlord jokes overlords.

Planes were always self healing (4, Funny)

clonan (64380) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464286)

So long as they came with their handy dandy bipedal humanoid repair agents...

Better than self healing... (2, Funny)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464892)

The new Lockheed L9 CLERIC. It can resurrect itself, but only if it makes that dreaded system shock check...

Re:Planes were always self healing (1)

rcani (831229) | more than 6 years ago | (#23467732)

So long as they came with their handy dandy bipedal humanoid repair agents...
Make sure you get the bipedal humanoids though, those quadrupedal humanoids are no good...

What about a self-healing system for Reiser's ass? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23464318)

This post is brought to you by Hans Reiser's shredded anus, which is by now no doubt being passed around the jail house like a pack of smokes. His poor anus probably now resembles a pastrami sandwich that fell apart. I wonder if he'll describe that experience in the passive voice...

Potential (4, Interesting)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464320)

Since I am far from an expert on the subject... what are the chances this same technology could be applied to prosthetics? If that were doable, I think it'd be an excellent market for allowing people to use prosthetics and be able to do more rigorous physical work.

Might cut down on the profits of companies that make prosthetics, though, if the things just fix themselves instead of needing to be replaced. :)

Re:Potential (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464460)

The big benefits are in resistance to fatigue, not in tensile strength.

Re:Potential (1)

ark1 (873448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23466890)

That would be nice as long as it does not costs an arm.

Re:Potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23474984)

Since I am far from an expert on the subject... what are the chances this same technology could be applied to prosthetics? If that were doable, I think it'd be an excellent market for allowing people to use prosthetics and be able to do more rigorous physical work.


Might cut down on the profits of companies that make prosthetics, though, if the things just fix themselves instead of needing to be replaced. :)

kinda crazy to think about...we could have prosthetics with this base that could simulate real skin and bleeding?

Have you seen this boy? (3, Insightful)

ivanmarsh (634711) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464322)

I for one welcome our flying Terminator overlords.

If it bleeds ... (2, Funny)

Skeptical1 (823232) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464334)

we can kill it.

Re:If it bleeds ... (3, Funny)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465558)

What if it ain't got time to bleed?

Re:If it bleeds ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23467448)

OJ? Is that you?

So... (4, Insightful)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464360)

The plane will heal itself after a crash. Great for the plane, not so much for the passengers.

Re:So... (5, Informative)

SBacks (1286786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464498)

Unfortunately, this wouldn't have much of an impact on macro-scale damage. Its much more useful for those tiny microscopic cracks that can grow and lead to a failure. Much like when you slice your finger as opposed to cutting the entire hand off.

Re:So... (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464716)

Yes I understood that, sadly it was joke that seems to gone awry.

Obligatory (1)

Andrzej Sawicki (921100) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465136)

You must be new here.

Re:Obligatory (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465270)

That didn't make much sense... not the right context for that (lame) joke.

Re:Obligatory (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465382)

Damn, you young guys are rough.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Andrzej Sawicki (921100) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465790)

Do I really need to explain how jokes go unnoticed, and insightful comments get modded funny around here? Or didn't I get something? ;)

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23469992)

If this is true then it is of considerable benefit to all of our activity in outer space - it's not only all of the big objects that you can see that you need to worry about, it is all of the micrometeor sized objects that are travelling at 1000s or 10s of thousands of miles/kilometers per hour. These can poke nasty holes in your outer skin, if they have enough relative velocity.

Currently (3, Interesting)

bostonsoxfan (865285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464362)

There are some things already implemented similar to this. At least in concept. Many helicopters are getting new fuel tanks made of special plastics (I'm not really sure) that seal themselves when you shoot a bullet through them so there is little or no leakage. Also there are chromate conversion coatings that allow scratches but over time will repair to be almost like new.

Re:Currently (4, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465312)

Previously, we've had self-sealing fuel tanks since WW2. But those had some weird lining that expanded to close the puncture. The important part is preventing burnoff and explosion, not so much leakage. If your venting fuel, you can still (as long as it's not huge) get to the ground safely.

That chromate conversion does sound awesome, but is that useful outside of cosmetic applications? (self-repairing bumpers and rims, anyone?)

Re:Currently (3, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23466668)

That chromate conversion does sound awesome, but is that useful outside of cosmetic applications?

I'm not an expert in this but I believe the chromates the OP is referring to are the type typically used as corrosion inhibitors. If you've ever been inside military airplane, you might have noticed the bright green paint used on the interior. That's zinc chromate. You can see how a anti-corrosion layer which could self-repair would be of great use in harsh environments or safety-critical applications.

Re:Currently (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23470576)

Jeeze, that one reads like it was posted by an ESL dropout. Please pardon the typos and grammatical errors; my excuse is that I was posting in a hurry because I was at work.

Yeah, I know--lousy excuse...

Re:Currently (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23477572)

Hmm, i had thought the green paint was some kind of safety color code or something... but know, knowing what it was, your are right - that would be quite useful. Long term maintenance costs would likely drop...

Cost effectiveness? (1)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464370)

In before Terminator jokes.

Also, I wonder when this will become cost effective for cars. I suspect it's going to be a long time before (cost of self-healing frame) - (cost of normal frame) < (cost to repair normal frame). That being said, this is going to be a fantastic option for a lot of industrial applications.

Re:Cost effectiveness? (3, Funny)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464398)

I for one welcome our flying Terminator overlords.
And then,

In before Terminator jokes.
Ouch.

Re:Cost effectiveness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23465258)

I expect the main expense involved here is going to be setting up new manufacturing facilities for large-scale production. IIRC, most of the component technologies (i.e. embedding hollow fibers in composite materials) are already well-developed: the technical hurdle here was probably developing the healing resin and determining the particulars of the fibers to be embedded. TFA doesn't mention specific materials, but unless the resin includes something really exotic it shouldn't be too costly to produce.

One concern with this system (1, Insightful)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464390)

How much weight does this system add vis-a-vis the use of non-composite materials? If you use a system that weighs more than the corresponding non-composite system, you won't gain anything by using the composites in the first place...

Re:One concern with this system (2, Insightful)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464450)

Any gain in weight over the normal composite material is far made up for in the fact that more and more non-composite parts can be replaced with these self-healing composite parts.

Not necessarily! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23470326)

Remember that this technique involves filling what would otherwise be hollow fibers with resin and hardener. Therefore, while the healing might be advantageous, this material MUST, by definition, weigh more than the same composite without the added liquids, and does not add to the normal strength of the material.

I would want to see comparative tests, with materials of THE SAME MASS... which means the unfilled composites would be thicker or denser. THEN compare whether the "healing" really gains anything, vs. the control which would be significantly stronger in the first place, pound for pound.

If it does not break to start with, it does not need healing!

Somebody show me meaningful numbers. Until then I am far from convinced.

Re:One concern with this system (2, Insightful)

SBacks (1286786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464464)

"A key benefit would be that aircraft designs including more FRP composites would be significantly lighter than the primarily aluminium-based models currently in service."

Re:One concern with this system (4, Funny)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464534)

As well as the obvious safety benefits, this breakthrough could make it possible to design lighter aeroplanes in future. This would lead to fuel savings, cutting costs for airlines and passengers and reducing carbon emissions too.

This is my friend article, I don't believe you've met before.

Re:One concern with this system (4, Funny)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464786)

This is my friend Slashdot. I don't think you've met before; we don't read articles and we make wild speculations based upon collective ignorance.

Re:One concern with this system (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#23469176)

In soviet Russia, the collective ignores YOU!

Hey look, that not only makes sense, but it is actually a genuine comment on communist society. WOW!

Re:One concern with this system (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464636)

Many concerns with this kind of system.

Airplanes aren't like cars; cars are mass-produced, throwaway items that seldom see more than 10-15 years of use. Yes, there *are* 30 year old cars, but they represent a rather small fraction of the actual cars in day-to-day use.

Airplanes, on the other hand, are in a different category. Airplanes are all-but hand made. They are very expensive, so it's usually cheaper to fix an existing plane than to buy a new one. I got my pilot's license in a 1971 Cessna 172 that was older than I am. This isn't a particularly old plane, C-172s go all the way back to 1955 or so, and there isn't a whole lot that changed in the plane characteristics from 1959 to 2006 - mostly just newer instrumentation and a few minor tweaks.

Since we can be fairly certain that many (most?) of airplanes made today will be flying 40 years from now, how well does this "self healing" work then? Composites are much more sensitive to extreme temperatures - how well does it "heal" at below freezing? (typical of high altitudes, as well as high lattitudes)

Aviation is very risk averse - KISS is the rule of survival! Most planes are leaned MANUALLY just to avoid the possibility that some little spring in the carburetor would die while flying over mountains to the detriment of the plane occupants.

Yes, even though I'm a technocrat, I remain a bit skeptical.

Re:One concern with this system (4, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464934)

I suspect that the purpose is similar to that of the self-inflating tires. They keep you running until you can fix it properly. Since not all cars are equipped with flat-proof tires, it's a good idea for drivers to be acquainted with how to pull over and change a flat. However, manually patching hull cracks in mid-flight is an unreasonable expectation of a pilot, so this technology has found a niche.

Re:One concern with this system (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465758)

That's actually a very good analogy. This system is a temporary fix for expensive carbon composite airframes to address micro(paper cut or smaller) sized fractures which could lead to wing collapse.

Carbon fiber is far more resilient than aluminum. but it when it does break it breaks catastrophically. Minor cracks can grow. This system patches the minor cracks to begin with thus allowing the system to be patched later properly.

A possible step back (2, Insightful)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464440)

I'm no engineer, but wouldn't the use of new self-healing polymers be inferior to a mechanical failsafe or backups. If damage is done to an aircraft, the component of the structure that was carefully designed for a specific use is compromised. When under intense air pressure, self healing doesn't seem to make the cut. Wounds don't heal when aggravated, and bones have been known to heal badly (which could translate to a greater problem). If there is a new "healing" system that is to be used, I think it's a long way down the road before we see them implemented in commercial/military aircraft.

Re:A possible step back (2, Insightful)

bostonsoxfan (865285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464538)

I don't think that this is going to be a big step back. I think it is meant more for skins and interior panels. There is little substitute for good old Aluminum or Titanium in aircraft. This isn't meant to be a massive fix just fix dents or you know the normal wear and tear of being an aircraft. If the composite break or fracture can reseal itself it is less downtime, less cost and easier overall on the parties involved. I think this wouldn't be used for airframes. Having little gaps of liquid would make the material a little weaker and probably not as effective as a frame. How about on helicopter blades. Those things take a beating, having them self repair even to 80% would be a big plus. rather than lost the integrity of the blade.

Re:A possible step back (4, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464562)

...and bones have been known to heal badly (which could translate to a greater problem)....
"Ladies and Gentlemen, there will be a momentary delay while try to open the doors. Please do not be alarmed, this is just a slight, though predictable malfuction of our aircrft's self-repair system."

Re:A possible step back (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464586)

I believe the damage we are talking about is micro-fractures that would be filled in with self healing goo. I think that the issue is more materials fatigue than macro scale damage.

Re:A possible step back (2, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464706)

I'm no engineer, but wouldn't the use of new self-healing polymers be inferior to a mechanical failsafe or backups... Wounds don't heal when aggravated, and bones have been known to heal badly (which could translate to a greater problem)...

I don't think they intended this to be a long term solution to aircraft damage, but rather keep the airplane in the air until it can land safely and then the ground crew can make long term repairs.

Not for fibre-reinforced polymers (4, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465606)

I'm no engineer, but wouldn't the use of new self-healing polymers be inferior to a mechanical failsafe or backups. If damage is done to an aircraft, the component of the structure that was carefully designed for a specific use is compromised. When under intense air pressure, self healing doesn't seem to make the cut.
FRPs like fiberglass and carbon-fiber are composed of strengthening fibers embedded in a polymer matrix. The fibers provide the strength, the polymer holds the fibers together with each other (transfers load from one fiber to its neighbors). The initial modes of failure will be the polymer losing its "grip" on the fiber (like pulling a nail out of wood), followed by fracture of polymer that's lost its fiber reinforcement in this manner. The fiber is still there and intact, it's just lost its mechanism for accepting load from adjacent material. Initially there's enough polymer that stresses can be routed around a minor failure of this type (transferring load to adjacent fibers). But eventually you get to the point where you'll have multiple dislocations spanning between fibers, and the polymer is no longer able to transfer stresses to enough fibers to carry the entire load, eventually leading to catastrophic failure.

This self-healing mechanism essentially injects new polymer into the crack thus reseating the fiber within the polymer, sealing the polymer dislocations, and restoring the polymer's ability to transfer load between fibers. The dye to indicate a failure is to catch an inspector's attention just in case the stresses exceeded the fiber's breaking strength (e.g. from a rock or birdstrike). The presence of the dye does not in itself indicate the part is now substantially weaker than a new part (aside from the self-repair mechanism being used up).

Yes, the "healing" polymer is probably not as strong as the original polymer. But because of the nature of the failure mechanisms I've described above, any FRP already has plenty of leeway for polymer failure built into it. If it didn't, the material would be incredibly susceptible to fatigue failure after just a few load cycles.

Re:A possible step back (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465814)

I'm no engineer, but wouldn't the use of new self-healing polymers be inferior to a mechanical failsafe or backups.

Mechanical failsafe? Backup? Okay Mr. No Engineer, perhaps you could explain how you provide a backup for a monocoque wing skin?

Aircraft are often partly glued together and the technique can be used in cars as well [sae.org]

, I guess the Loremo actually uses some glued aluminum, or so I believe I've seen in some of their propaganda before.

If you had an epoxy or something that would automatically squirt itself into fatigue cracks in aluminum, then air/UV harden, it would be a major blow for freedom. Now, write that large enough to seal bullet holes, and you've just made some gunheads very excited.

Re:A possible step back (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23469866)

From RTFA I saw that it was meant for micro-fractures etc. When you talk about bullet holes, you either have air pressure going into the wing and pushing the liquid back, or air pressure going under the wing, creating a vacuum that depletes the healing liquid. Now as for monocoque wing skin, I assume that the parts are glued so that chemical hazards are not a problem, and physical hazards have been tested. Now it seems to me that you are worried about bullets. Let me assure you that the only way to repair holes made by 50 caliber tracer rounds is to replace the damaged area. Molasses would flow like water in a hole that big.

Re:A possible step back (1)

koala_dude (1104777) | more than 6 years ago | (#23466306)

IIRC, a much more primitive type of "self-healing" technology was instrumental in the WWII Allied victory.

Fuel tanks for aircraft used a sandwich of aluminum and a polymer that hardened on contact with air (similar to the gunk you can get at the Autoparts store to stop a leak in your gas tank).

Fuel leaks from gunfire or flack stopped or slowed dramatically, reducing the risk of fire and the need to bail out prematurely because of fuel loss (remember, some of these missions were extremely long, especially in the Pacific theater).

The Japanese had a different philosophy throughout most of WWII, eschewing self-sealing gas tanks because of the weight and complexity. They started WWII with an extremely well trained cadre of pilots (a typical pre-war class at Etajima would start with 2,000 candidates and end up with less than 50), but lack of armor and self-sealing tanks cost a great many of these pilots' lives early in the conflict.

Even the pilots themselves joked about this, calling the main bomber used throughout the war, the G4M Type 1 Medium bomber ("Betty"), the "Type 1 Lighter".

At any rate, it would seem that a wound that heals, even imperfectly, is preferable to stress fractures and pinholes in a craft that's undergone a few compression / decompression cycles.

Re:A possible step back (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23478414)

This would be used in addition to the things you mentioned, not instead of.

first self healing post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23464506)

Ha. It's just a 'matter' of time.

That's how I beat the Borg, I got them before they had a chance to adapt.

Activate the frikin de-healification ray.

Like this:

<ecode>
          ^
___>#+&<___
        /
      /
    /
  /
Grrr!</ecode>

world war 2 (2, Informative)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464550)

self sealing fuel tanks. [wikipedia.org]

Sealing != healing (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23467480)

Sealing works at a band-iad level.

The healing is at a micro level (ie fixing tiny stress cracks in the material). THis wouldnot fix bullet holes.

Quite clever, actually. (5, Interesting)

Starker_Kull (896770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464590)

My first worry upon reading the idea would be that some dim bulb would propose that we need to reduce the number of heavy tear-down inspections to look for fatigue damage, since they 'self-repair'. But the article proposes using not only a resin that flows out to repair broken fibers, but putting dye in the resin so that fatigue cracks (and the subsequent self-repair) are much more obvious to inspectors.... To quote the article:

"This approach can deal with small-scale damage that's not obvious to the naked eye but which might lead to serious failures in structural integrity if it escapes attention," says Dr Ian Bond, who has led the project. "It's intended to complement rather than replace conventional inspection and maintenance routines, which can readily pick up larger-scale damage, caused by a bird strike, for example."
Nice idea... I hope we see it deployed in production aircraft someday.

Re:Quite clever, actually. (2, Interesting)

rkanodia (211354) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465106)

Hopefully the dye will only be visible under UV light, or else I am going to freak the hell out when I see purple veins start to bubble up from the surface of the wing of the plane I am flying in.

Re:Quite clever, actually. (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465568)

I am going to freak the hell out when I see purple veins start to bubble up from the surface of the wing of the plane I am flying in.


You have a problem flying in a toaster? If it's good enough for Star Buck, it's good enough for you.

Re:Quite clever, actually. (2, Interesting)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465850)

Well, then the danger is the mechanic in a hurry or under pressure is going to see the spar covered with filled in cracks, and say "it must be working OK!"

Still, probably better than the explosive decompressions one gets with aluminum.

Back in the old days, a good agent for finding these problems was the tar from cigarette smoke. If a small hole or crack occurred, the sludge from accumulated smoke would seep out of the crack under pressure and produce a visible stain. The crack would often self seal, although obviously would not prevent the crack from propagating, and this only worked on the elements comprising the pressure vessel.

The Human Airplane (1)

writerjosh (862522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464682)

I think this is great. Imagine the day when every component of machinery is self-healing. Machines will have skin, bones, circulatory systems, and yes, brains. With each new technology, we're recreating/modifying nature and ourselves.

Katz! OMG Wherehaveyoubeen???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23464954)

Voices from the fuselage!!!!

Re:The Human Airplane (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464980)

Not unlike Cylons...

similar to the bruising and bleeding... (4, Funny)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464726)

healing processes we see after we cut ourselves,

Speak for yourself, emo kid.

As long as we've taken some precautions.... (2, Funny)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | more than 6 years ago | (#23464884)

"I don't think so, Dave"

Sign that I need glasses (2, Funny)

neimon (713907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465222)

...Reading that as "self-hating system" and thinking it was a good idea, though probably "self-loathing" would do.

Re:Sign that I need glasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23468406)

Self hating hmmm. fits with the emo thing

mend themselves automatically, even during a fligh (1)

alxkit (941262) | more than 6 years ago | (#23465696)

what if the plane "self-heals" itself into a brick?

Half healed plane falls to the ground anyway (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23466356)

I envision lots of FAA inspectors looking at a lot of half healed parts by the crater, instead of parts not healed at all.

velcro was cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23466380)

before it became a military secret

That's not what is says (1)

zienth (890583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23466540)

The article does not say that the technique is being used in any designs. It says:

"The new self-repair technique developed by the current EPSRC-funded project could be available for commercial use within around four years."

It's a nice sounding lab exercise, but it's not being used in any new designs, and won't be for a few years, if ever.

Zienth

Re:That's not what is says (2, Informative)

SBacks (1286786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23466772)

That's actually caused by the fact that its used in Aerospace applications. The testing/qualification process to get a part into operation takes 4-5 years minimum, and usually more like a decade. If they forecast this being in use in 4 years, then its got to be pretty much ready for full scale testing now.

I wish I had this during my Sgt York AA test. (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 6 years ago | (#23468552)

In the 1980's was just lowly 2nd LT in the Air Force and one of my many duties was to tow targets for AAA crews. This time it was pulling targets for the Sargent York Anti-Aircraft system and during one runs the Sargent York AA system start hitting my F-5 rather the tow target. My F-5 was damaged but was barely airworthy and I got the F-5 on a backup runway near the test site. This was my closest time I ever needed to pull the ejection handle in my life and I was other combat operations after this. I wished I had this self-healing aircraft at that time.

Perfect name: Dr. Bond using epoxy to fix planes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23469094)

Dr. Coder also writes excellent software.

This is not self-healing (1)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 6 years ago | (#23472860)

This isn't self healing any more than a scab represents a healed wound. When aircraft wings bleed nano-agents that reweave the carbon fibres, then I'll call the system self-healing. Until then, label it correctly. Self-patching, or even more correctly, damage-mitigating materials or design.
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