>While this room-temperature approach is not truly "self-healing" because it requires an external power source and raw materials, Pikul sees it being in line with how self-healing occurs in the body.
Normal electroplating would fuse the surfaces with a layer of metal, rather than keeping the foam structure.
The problem here would be repairing big breaks though. Plus maybe working with metals that do not readily work in electroplating bath, like aluminium.
> The new nickel, however, reduces the healing efficiency when repeatedly using this technique. Because the healed areas no longer have a polymer coating, nickel would continue to amass there should another piece of the sample need to be healed.
Presumably it'd be useful in applications where the parts would normally fail regularly.
Furthermore, vehicles basically just bounce off the structural elements of bridges and other structures like that. It's not really a problem.
If anything we'll see this kind of stuff used in expensive niche applications. Low volume bespoke electronics in high vibration environments would benefit from being able to "heal" like this. I can also see it being useful when applied as a coating that protects the material underneath, basically a self touching up paint job (like galvanizing, but possibly with a wider array of materials than just zinc). This could be very useful for items in corrosive environments.