Human Scabbing Inspires Self-Healing Airplane Wings

A new liquid compound could also be used for repairing nail varnish and motorcycle helmets.


Boogers, dandruff, poop, pimples — you look at these and think, ew. But what inspiration might be found in the lowly blackhead or the plebeian snot rocket? Or more to the point of some awesome science we’re about to drop on you here, in the wound-bivouac that the humble scab provides? 

University of Bristol researchers are about to release new tech based on blood’s role in helping skin to heal. Airplane wings that stitch themselves back together have the biggest wow factor, but the breakthrough is applicable to anything that cracks from helmets to nail varnish.

To make this work the scientists use “microspheres” in the carbon of an airplane wing. If the carbon gets smacked, the microspheres crack open and ooze a liquid compound that’ll fill the cracks in the carbon, then firm up like glue. This is fascinating. And, in a first for scabbing, not even a little bit gross.

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