We describe recent computational studies to design such systems as ‘artificial leukocytes’ that facilitate the healing of damaged substrates, polymer nanocomposites where nanoparticles are driven to fill cracks in fractured surfaces, and polymer gels that effectively act as a ‘skin’ by signaling mechanical impact. Computational research into self-healing materials is still in its infancy. However, progress in this field can ultimately facilitate the fabrication of the next generation of adaptive materials that both monitor their structural integrity and mend themselves before any catastrophic failure can occur.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(07)70205-5