Self-Healing Wiring May Be Future Electrical Standard
Self-healing wire technology, developed as part of an FAA initiative to combat the problems associated with aging aircraft, has been licensed to Ohio-based Pinnacle Systems–its first commercial licensee. As part of a suite of research projects at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) aimed at eliminating the time-consuming task of tracing wire faults, wire that can repair its own insulation after it is damaged was developed by research chemist Robert Kauffman. He created a nontoxic, water-based solution called Patch (power activated technology for coating and healing), which contains a polymer–similar to white craft glue–that can be embedded in wiring insulation. When the wire suffers a fault, its arcing electricity acts as a catalyst to trigger a chemical reaction. The polymer then reacts with ambient moisture to form a chemically bonded skin over the breached area. According to the researchers, adding the healing properties should entail merely dipping the wire in a bath of the solution and letting it dry before adding the outside insulation. Pinnacle chief technology officer Joseph D’Angelo said the company hopes eventually to be able to produce the self-healing wire at a cost not much greater than that of regular wire.