In situ repair of mechanical failure remains a largely unexamined area of study in biomaterials. A newly emerging area of materials science is """"""""Self-Healing Materials"""""""" (SHM) that uses a variety of embedded chemistries to detect and repair microcracks in situ before they coalesce into propagating cracks. This R21 proposal examines the feasibility of incorporating biocompatible, non-toxic SHM technology into one of the simplest load-bearing biomaterial formulations -- two component acrylic bone cement -- with the most straightforward SHM technology -- microencapsulated healing agent dispersed in a catalyst-embedded polymer matrix. The study consists of four specific aims.
Aim 1 : Fabrication of microencapsulated alkyl cyanoacrylate healing agent using emulsified oil in water interfacial polymerization.
Aim 2 : Incorporation of the icroencapsulated healing agent into the two-component PMMA matrix.
Aim 3 : Characterization of self-healing bone cement mechanical properties and fracture mechanics.
Aim 4 : Cytotoxicity testing of self-healing bone cement by elution testing of extraction media in mouse fibroblast culture, and by cell ongrowth onto samples of bone cement placed in cultures of human osteoblasts.

Public Health Relevance

The most likely mode of failure of all cyclically loaded biomaterials is fatigue failure resulting from the accumulation of microcracks. The long-term goal of this study is to develop composite biomaterials that have the capacity to repair failure at the microcrack level and thus prolong the use life of cyclically loaded biomaterials. This project specifically tests out the concept feasibility using acrylic bone cement as a model biomaterial.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Bioengineering, Technology and Surgical Sciences Study Section (BTSS)
Program Officer
Hunziker, Rosemarie
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Duke University
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Engineering
United States
Zip Code
Brochu, Alice B W; Matthys, Oriane B; Craig, Stephen L et al. (2015) Extended fatigue life of a catalyst free self-healing acrylic bone cement using microencapsulated 2-octyl cyanoacrylate. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater 103:305-12
Vernekar, Varadraj N; Wallace, Charles S; Wu, Mina et al. (2014) Bi-ligand surfaces with oriented and patterned protein for real-time tracking of cell migration. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces 123:225-35
Brochu, Alice B W; Evans, Gregory A; Reichert, William M (2014) Mechanical and cytotoxicity testing of acrylic bone cement embedded with microencapsulated 2-octyl cyanoacrylate. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater 102:181-9
Brochu, Alice B W; Chyan, William J; Reichert, William M (2012) Microencapsulation of 2-octylcyanoacrylate tissue adhesive for self-healing acrylic bone cement. J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater 100:1764-72
Brochu, Alice B W; Craig, Stephen L; Reichert, William M (2011) Self-healing biomaterials. J Biomed Mater Res A 96:492-506