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Self-healing technology can heal our ailing aviation and transport sector

Considering the damages caused to an aircraft’s body due to extreme temperature, lightening or electromagnetic interference, NASA has given a contact to an aircraft company called Cessna Aircraft Co. for introducing self-healing technology in future aircraft.

This new technology has a solid potential of changing several things for the aviation industry, as well as other modes of transport. Check out what research tells about self-healing technology.

The research

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Self-healing technology is basically about providing a magic skin to an aircraft so the vehicle can be protected against a major impact. Cessna conducted research on future aircraft innovations and found that this technology can offer a kind of health monitoring system to an aircraft.

The idea behind this technology is that a vehicle would be padded using foam that can absorb high amounts of energy. Then, a large conductive sheath would be applied on the vehicle’s body. Thus, it will work like a casing in case of an aircraft and protect its outer covering.


If this covering faces any damage, then there would be a chance for engineers to check the basic aircraft structure and perform any required maintenance quickly. Self-healing technology has the potential to provide detailed information regarding the temperature, humidity, strain, motion, and much more.

This is possible because of multiple sensors installed in the magic skin. Further, the research also indicates that this skin would be able to heal itself on damage detection. However, there are not many details available on the way it could do this. This future concept is simply taking a shape as of now.

Benefits of self-healing technology


A lot of work is being done across the world on revolutionary materials like polymer composites. There are claims that such materials, along with wireless technology and microelectronic devices, can actually make it possible for transport vehicles and aircraft to self-heal.

The idea is similar to how plants and animals heal them. In case of any damage to the aircraft body, the liquid composites would start seeping in the cracks and fill them by getting hardened due to a reaction with a catalyst.

If the technology is precisely implemented, then we can see the huge power of composites. These composites can actually reclaim a vehicle’s strength up to 90 percent, which is quite significant.

Self-healing can also be wonderful for passengers, as there would be no human intervention required. The aircraft can remain safer due to intelligent sensing. Self-healing technology may not only save money, but also make the aircraft lighter and more efficient. Safety checks for aircraft and vehicles can become cheaper once it comes in place.

Future with self-healing technology

Businessman looking through a pair of binoculars

Although it is predicted that we would only be able to witness self-healing technology in the transport sector by around 2030, it would definitely make the future brighter in various contexts.

For instance, this technology can do wonders if it is used in a scenario of high lethality. In the situations of aerial warfare, self-healing can be amazing to keep the aircraft fit to keep flying. Even if there is heavy damage to the outer covering, the inside body can carry on safely.

Even for warfare vehicles operating on land, this technology can become a great asset. It is also friendly for the environment in many ways. Thus, aviation and other transport might require far less maintenance work when self-healing technology would create its own impact on damaging factors.

With a variety of research being done on self-healing technology and polymer composites, the future of aviation and other transport seems more secure. This technology can come quite handy when aircraft are in danger due to damaging situations.


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