Self-healing polymers are a class of smart materials able to recover after sustaining damage. A family of thermosetting epoxy resins, containing Diels-Alder (DA) adducts in the epoxy precursor backbone, has been prepared and characterized. The DA adducts can be reversibly cleaved and reformed under the appropriate thermal conditions, and this feature has been exploited to produce intrinsically self-repairing materials. This chapter focuses on the effects of different structural features, such as average number of cross-linking functionality and molecular mobility of epoxy precursors, on the efficiency of healing process. High cross-linking density and molecular stiffness improve mechanical performances, such as elastic modulus and glass transition temperature, and allow fabrication of self-healing fiber-reinforced composites by conventional manufacturing technologies. Within this chapter, the molecular design, the preparation, and the evaluation of properties of self-healing epoxy and its composites have been discussed.
Part of the book: Paint and Coatings Industry