Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Autonomous self-healing sealants self-repair microcracks and cuts, recover mechanical properties and adhere well to dusty surfaces. They are formulated by mixing a low-cost additive into commercial sealants according to a process developed at ORNL. The treatment increases sealant lifetime and energy savings by lowering air and water leaks in buildings.
Even though sealants are established products that have widespread use, failures persist that lead to air and water leaks, costly repairs and high energy use in buildings. ORNL’s autonomous self-healing sealants address the common failure modes in commercial sealants by self-repairing without a trigger and retaining high adhesion strength. Moreover, their solution can be easily adopted by sealant manufacturers because it entails incorporating a low-cost, self-healing polymer additive into their existing products; the laboratories’ approach involves a simple, efficient, and scalable process that requires minimal changes to current sealant manufacturing steps. Consequently, the autonomous self-healing sealant is a technology that can be quickly deployed to significantly increase the longevity and performance of sealants and to reduce energy consumption in buildings.