Title page for ETD etd-07072009-135557

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Castellucci, Matt
Author's Email Address castell@vt.edu
URN etd-07072009-135557
Title Resistive heating for self-healing materials based on ionomeric polymers.
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Leo, Donald J. Committee Chair
Case, Scott W. Committee Member
Inman, Daniel J. Committee Member
Sundaresan, Vishnu Committee Member
  • self-healing
  • damage detection
Date of Defense 2009-06-24
Availability unrestricted
Self-healing materials have received considerable development in the last decade. Recent

results have demonstrated healing in polymeric materials via a chemical reaction using a

healing agent or response to thermal treatment.

The goal of this research is to develop a new composite material, for application in wire

insulation, that can detect damage and heal itself using resistance heating. The composite

material is composed of a conductive network embedded in a polymer matrix. The conductive

network is used for damage detection and resistive heating. A matrix material is

used that melts when heated and flows to fill damage. External electronic circuitry is used

to implement a damage detection algorithm and apply current for resistive heating. Surlyn

8940 is chosen as the polymer matrix and carbon fibers are selected for the resistive heating

elements. Methods for melt processing Surlyn are developed and used to produce Surlyn

films and composite samples where carbon fiber is embedded in a Surlyn matrix. A finite

element model of the resistive heating process is developed to predict the temperature


Thermal imaging is used to characterize resistive heating while optical microscopy and

tensile testing are used to characterize healing. Damage detection using capacitive measurements

is demonstrated and characterized. The self-healing composite is placed on top

of another conductive material such as in the wire insulation application. Capacitance

measurements are made using the conductive network inside the composite is used as one

electrode and the wide conductor as the second electrode.

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