Self-healing materials are capable of automatically repair any damage or wear & tear to themselves without any human intervention. The name explains the characteristic of the material which is experiencing rising popularity among end-use industries such as building & construction, automotive, aerospace, electrical & electronics, and general industrial among others.
The ability of “self-heal” has a direct impact on maintenance, cost, and shelf life. For a plethora of applications engaging numerous classes of materials, the capability of main components to recuperate their novel properties after the damage is helpful in reducing costs and enhancing dependability.
Over the course of last few years, a robust expansion of activities across a wide range of materials from polymers to asphalt has been witnessed. For example, a microcapsule filled with a self-healing fluid is fixed in a polymeric material. Any emerging crack that finds such a microcapsule on its trail ruptures the capsule, and its liquid content fills the crack.
Increasing demand for cement, polymers and ceramic with self-healing properties in emerging economies of Asia Pacific and Middle East is expected to remain a key driving factor for market growth. Rising government spending on road projects and increasing number of private construction companies in China will further drive demand for self-healing material in the construction industry. Varying materials including polymers, coatings, asphalt, and ceramics possess own self-healing mechanisms such as releasing of healing agents, reversible cross-links and electrohydrodynamic.
The market is still in a nascent stage with extensive research being carried out by employing commercial applications. Increasing number of patent applications and their global acceptance for commercial usage is set to hinder the swift commercialization of these materials. However, rising demand for coating cement, polymers and ceramic are expected to drive market growth at a robust growth rate.
Prominent industry participants in the market include BASF SE, Arkema SA, Evonik Industries, Akzo Nobel N.V., Devan Chemicals. Acciona Infrastructures, a part of Healcon and Shine European projects, has announced the production of concrete and road surfaces that will possess the ability to regenerate themselves. This will help in achieving low cost, less pollution & noise related with maintenance activities of roads and buildings. Acciona’s contribution in the Shine and Healcon project emphases on using asphalt mixes in roads and various kind of concrete used for construction purposes.