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The EPSRC funded M4L project was a collaboration between Cardiff University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Bath. The aim was to demonstrate the viability of self-healing conglomerate materials in which the material components can act synergistically at different size and time scales in order to address the many different forms of damage that can arise.
This presentation will briefly describe the research that was undertaken in this project into encapsulating healing agents, bacterial healing, crack closure using shape memory polymer (SMP) tendons and vascular networks with the ability to supply healing agents on a repeated basis; highlighting how these techniques have been taken from the laboratory and into practice including their application in a series of trial panels constructed on site.
The challenges encountered in scaling-up, the feasibility of construction and the short term performance of the techniques that were used will be discussed. It will also be shown how amalgamating these techniques to form a multi‐scale healing system can improve the overall healing efficiency with respect to strength recovery, giving an insight into the interaction between different healing processes and trigger mechanisms.
The presentation will conclude by asking the question "Where now?" and "What is possible?" It will explore a vision of construction materials that can adapt to their environment, develop immunity to harmful actions, self-diagnose the on-set of deterioration and self-heal when damaged and discuss how this might be achieved.