Table of Contents
ISRN Nanomaterials
Volume 2012, Article ID 351205, 16 pages
Research Article

The Self-Healing Capability of Carbon Fibre Composite Structures Subjected to Hypervelocity Impacts Simulating Orbital Space Debris

1Department of Smart Materials and Sensors for Space Missions, MPB Technologies Inc., 151 Hymus Boulevard, Pointe-Claire, Montreal, QC, Canada H9R 1E9
2Shock Waves Physics Group and Department of Mechanical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 0G4
3Concordia Center for Composites, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 2M8
4Center for Applied Research on Polymers (CREPEC), Mechanical Engineering Department, École Polytechnique de Montréal, P.O. Box 6079, Station “Centre-Ville”, Montreal, QC, Canada H3C 3A7
5Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Concordia University, Canada H3G 2M8
6The Quality Engineering Test Establishment, Department of National Defence, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0K2
7Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, INRS-Énergie, Matériaux et Télécommunications, 1650 Blvd, Lionel Boulet, CP, Varennes, QC, Canada J3X 1S2

Received 5 September 2012; Accepted 24 September 2012

Academic Editors: B. Panchapakesan and K. Y. Rhee

Copyright © 2012 B. Aïssa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The presence in the space of micrometeoroids and orbital debris, particularly in the lower earth orbit, presents a continuous hazard to orbiting satellites, spacecrafts, and the international space station. Space debris includes all nonfunctional, man-made objects and fragments. As the population of debris continues to grow, the probability of collisions that could lead to potential damage will consequently increase. This work addresses a short review of the space debris “challenge” and reports on our recent results obtained on the application of self-healing composite materials on impacted composite structures used in space. Self healing materials were blends of microcapsules containing mainly various combinations of a 5-ethylidene-2-norbornene (5E2N) and dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) monomers, reacted with ruthenium Grubbs' catalyst. The self healing materials were then mixed with a resin epoxy and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) using vacuum centrifuging technique. The obtained nanocomposites were infused into the layers of woven carbon fibers reinforced polymer (CFRP). The CFRP specimens were then subjected to hypervelocity impact conditions—prevailing in the space environment—using a home-made implosion-driven hypervelocity launcher. The different self-healing capabilities were determined and the SWNT contribution was discussed with respect to the experimental parameters.