Researchers are developing a new nanotech process to create a self-healing material that repairs itself if damaged The scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute and Duisburg-Essen University peppered a layer of electroplating with fluid-filled nanocapsules. If the electroplating is scratched, the nanocapsules burst open to fill the damage. From Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft:
Mechanical bearings are one example of possible applications – the materials of the bearings usually have a electroplated coating, in which the capsules can be embedded. If there is a temporary shortage of lubricant, part of the bearing's coating is lost, the capsules at the top of the layer burst and release lubricant. The bearing is not therefore damaged if it temporarily runs dry. The researchers have produced the first copper, nickel and zinc coatings with the new capsules, although surface coverage does not extend beyond the centimeter scale. Experts estimate that it will be another one and a half to two years before whole components can be coated. In a further step the team worked on more complex systems – involving differently filled capsules, for example, whose fluids react with one another like a two component adhesive."Self-healing surfaces"