Self-repairing aircraft could revolutionise aviation safety

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Washington, May 20 (UNI) Nature's self-healing process may soon be mimicked by airplanes as they automatically mend damages themselves even during a flight.

If a tiny hole/crack appears in the aircraft, that is due to wear and tear, fatigue, a stone striking the plane etc, epoxy resin would 'bleed' from embedded vessels near the hole/crack and quickly seal it up, restoring structural integrity.

By mixing dye into the resin, any 'self-mends' could be made to show as coloured patches that could easily be pinpointed during subsequent ground inspections, and a full repair carried out if necessary.

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, Science Daily reported.

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.


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