Development and Analysis of Polymer-Based Self-Healing Composite Embedded with Silica (SiO2) Hollow Glass Fibers
Over the past decade, the definition of self-healing to repair and restore mechanical properties is being popularized for engineering applications. The investigation of self-healing composite materials is inspired by biological or natural systems in which damage prompts the healing process. The present study focuses on the development of E-glass fiber reinforced self-healing composite materials and the investigation of self-healing efficiency using silica (SiO2) based hollow glass fibers (HGFs). The finite element methodology (FEM) based structural model is also developed to study analytical aspects of developed composite material. It identifies the stress distributions which are used to estimate the crack propagation inside the composite material. FEM results are also utilized to predict the damaged loads for triggering the self-healing mechanism by bursting out the HGFs. FEM results revealed that crack propagates from the point of loading and damages the silica (SiO2) based hollow fibers. The experimental investigation includes the fabrication of composites with E-glass as a reinforcement, HGFs as a healing agent carrier, and epoxy resin as a matrix binder. Virgin, damaged, and healed specimens are tested under Impact and Flexure loading to evaluate the restoration of mechanical properties in terms of healing efficiency. Experimental results revealed that restoration of mechanical properties with a percentage increase of 58% in impact strength and a percentage increase of 36% in flexural strength is observed when compared with virgin composite. A major advantage of this study is the fact that the healing is found to be localized which further allows multiple healing of the composite material in the presence of several cracks at a different location.