A Review of Self-healing Metals: Fundamentals, Design Principles and Performance

Shasha Zhang*, Niels van Dijk, Sybrand van der Zwaag

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
381 Downloads (Pure)


Self-healing metals possess the capability to autonomously repair structural damage during service. While self-healing concepts remain challenging to be realized in metals and metallic systems due to the small atomic volume of the mobile atoms, the slow diffusion unless at high temperatures and the strong isotropic metallic bonds, the scientific interest has increased sharply and promising progress is obtained. This article provides a comprehensive and updated review on the developments and limitations associated with the various modes of potentially healable damage induced in metals and alloys, i.e., stress-induced damage, irradiation-induced damage in bulk materials and contact damage in corrosion protective coatings. The spontaneous intrinsic healing mechanisms not requiring external assistance other than the material operating at the right temperature and an assisted healing mechanism with external intervention are reviewed. Promising strategies to achieve self-healing in metals are identified. Finally, we give some prospects for future research directions in self-healing metals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1167-1179
Number of pages13
JournalActa Metallurgica Sinica (English Letters)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Coating
  • Creep behavior
  • Fatigue damage
  • Irradiation
  • Metal
  • Self-healing


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