Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scientists Developing Self-Healing Airplane Skin

Future aircraft could be lighter, safer and more fuel efficient with a skin that heals itelf, reports LiveScience. In the article, a researcher from the University of Bristol in England described how scientists are developing material with hollow, resin-filled tubes that can repair itself. Simply put, when the material is damaged, the resin is let loose, fills in the weak spots and solidifies.

The idea is for the material to work whether the plane is sitting in a hanger (and it's bumped by a truck) or in mid-flight. The only issue with mid-flight damage is the cold temperature at high altitudes. Sub-zero temps may "complicate" the hardening process.

And the material isn't providing just a temporary fix. According to the researcher, "It could be sitting in an aircraft's structure for quite long periods of time, maybe years."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.