January 11, 2019

Student Spotlight: Paving the Way for Self-Healing Materials in Space

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The five high schoolers who authored this post participated in the Go For Launch! program as Team Waffle. After winning the local competition in Dulles, VA, their experiment went on to win the higher-level Cygnus Seriescompetition that included teams from San Diego, California and Gilbert, Arizona. Higher Orbits, Space Tango, and the ISS National Lab supported the development and flight of Team Waffle’s experiment. It launched to the ISSon November 17, 2018 as part of the Cygnus NG-10 mission.

Materials engineers have developed self-healing plastics, metals, ceramics, and concrete. These materials can repair damage to themselves automatically, without any external intervention. We are working with this relatively new technology in our experiment, “Efficiency of a Self-Healing Material in Microgravity.” The experiment launched to the International Space Station on Northrop Grumman’s 10thcommercial resupply services mission in November 2018.