Self-healing mechanisms for 3D-printed polymeric structures: From lab to reality

Mohammed Dukhi Almutairi, Adrianus Indrat Aria, Vijay Kumar Thakur, Muhammad A. Khan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
85 Downloads (Pure)


Existing self-healing mechanisms are still very far from full-scale implementation, and most published work has only demonstrated damage cure at the laboratory level. Their rheological nature makes the mechanisms for damage cure difficult to implement, as the component or structure is expected to continue performing its function. In most cases, a molecular bond level chemical reaction is required for complete healing with external stimulations such as heating, light and temperature change. Such requirements of external stimulations and reactions make the existing self-healing mechanism almost impossible to implement in 3D printed products, particularly in critical applications. In this paper, a conceptual description of the self-healing phenomenon in polymeric structures is provided. This is followed by how the concept of self-healing is motivated by the observation of nature. Next, the requirements of self-healing in modern polymeric structures and components are described. The existing self-healing mechanisms for 3D printed polymeric structures are also detailed, with a special emphasis on their working principles and advantages of the self-healing mechanism. A critical discussion on the challenges and limitations in the existing working principles is provided at the end. A novel self-healing idea is also proposed. Its ability to address current challenges is assessed in the conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1534
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
Issue number7
Early online date11 Jul 2020
Publication statusFirst published - 11 Jul 2020


  • 3D printing
  • 3D printing structure
  • Challenges
  • Crack propagation
  • FDM
  • Origami capsule
  • Self-healing mechanism


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