4 years ago

Transparent, Healable Elastomers with High Mechanical Strength and Elasticity Derived from Hydrogen-Bonded Polymer Complexes

Transparent, Healable Elastomers with High Mechanical Strength and Elasticity Derived from Hydrogen-Bonded Polymer Complexes
Xiaokong Liu, Yu Song, Yan Wang, Junqi Sun, Tianqi Li, Wenke Zhang, Zhandong Li, Siheng Li
It is challenging to develop healable elastomers with combined high mechanical strength and good elasticity. Herein, a simple strategy to develop high-performance elastomers that integrate high mechanical strength, enormous stretchability, good resilience, and healability is reported. Through simply complexing poly(acrylic acid) and poly(ethylene oxide) based on hydrogen-bonding interactions, transparent composite materials that perform as elastomers are generated. The as-prepared elastomers exhibit mechanical strength (true strength at break) and toughness (fracture energy) as high as 61 MPa and 22.9 kJ/m2, respectively, and they can be stretched to >35 times their initial length and are able to return to their original dimensions following the removal of stress. Further, the elastomers are capable of healing from physical cuts/damages in a humid environment because of reformation of the reversible hydrogen bonds between the polymer components. The high mechanical strength of the elastomers is ascribed to the high degree of polymer chain entanglements and multiple hydrogen-bonding interactions in the composites. The reversible hydrogen bonds, which act as cross-linkages, facilitate the unfolding and sliding of the polymer chains in the composites, thereby endowing the elastomers with good elasticity and healability. Furthermore, flexible conductors with water-enabled healability were developed by drop-casting Ag nanowires on top of the elastomers.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b08636

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b08636

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