Printed Electronics Self-Heal After Damage | AIChE

Printed Electronics Self-Heal After Damage


The fantastic capacity of animals and plants to recover after being damaged has served as inspiration for the development of materials that self-heal.

Engineers at the Univ. of California San Diego have developed a magnetic ink that can be used to print self-healing electronic devices. They have used the ink to make batteries, electrochemical sensors, and wearable, textile-based electrical circuits.

“Our work holds considerable promise for widespread practical applications for long-lasting printed electronic devices,” says Joseph Wang, director of the Center for Wearable Sensors and chair of the nanoengineering department at the Univ. of California, San Diego (UC San Diego).

Self-healing materials typically incorporate microcapsules. When the material is damaged, the micro-capsules open and release chemicals that react to repair the damage. Although an attractive strategy, microcapsules have several limitations. Conductive films made with microcapsules cannot heal multiple times in the same location and cannot recover from macroscopic damage. In addition, because the microcapsules are generally larger than the conductive particles in the inks, they can interfere with the film’s...

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