Self-Fixing Plane in the Works

Self-repairing process mimics the way human body heals
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2008 5:55 AM CDT
Aerospace engineers say the self-repairing technology could be used in planes made of fiber composites, like the new 787 Dreamliner, seen here under construction.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – British aerospace engineers are working on technology that could create self-repairing aircraft, Gizmag reports. In a technique very much like nature's healing process, resin would "bleed" out of damaged parts of the plane and harden, making a damaged aircraft strong enough to continue to fly until it could be repaired properly on the ground.

The process could be used in any aircraft using fiber-based composites instead of aluminum frames, like Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner. Adding the self-healing element to the composites would make them more reliable. The engineers, who expect the technology to be ready within 4 years, say it could also be used for wind turbines, cars, and spacecraft.