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Biomimetic water-responsive self-healing epoxy with tunable properties
Yuan, D.; Delpierre, S.; Ke, K.; Raquez, J.-M.; Dubois, P.; Manas-Zloczower, I. (2019). Biomimetic water-responsive self-healing epoxy with tunable properties. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 11(19): 17853-17862. https://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.9b04249
In: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. AMER CHEMICAL SOC: Washington. ISSN 1944-8244, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    self-healing; water-responsive; epoxy; boroxine; strain sensors

Authors  Top 
  • Yuan, D.
  • Delpierre, S., more
  • Ke, K.
  • Raquez, J.-M., more
  • Dubois, P., more
  • Manas-Zloczower, I.

Abstract
    As dynamic cross-linking networks are intrinsically weaker than permanent covalent networks, it is a big challenge to obtain a stiff self-healing polymer using reversible networks. Inspired by the self-healable and mechanically adaptive nature of sea cucumber, we design a water-responsive self-healing polymer system with reversible and permanent covalent networks by cross-linking poly(propylene glycol) with boroxine and epoxy. This double cross-linked structure is self-healing due to the boroxine reversible network as well as showing a room-temperature tensile modulus of 1059 MPa and a tensile stress of 37 MPa, on a par with classic thermosets. The dynamic boroxine bonds provide the self-healing response and enable up to 80% recovery in modulus and tensile strength upon water contact. The system shows superior adhesion to metal substrates by comparison with the commercial epoxy-based structural adhesive. Besides, this system can change modulus from a stiff thermoset to soft rubber (by a factor of 150) upon water stimulus, enabling potential applications of either direct or transform printing for micro/nanofabrication. Moreover, by incorporating conductive nanofillers, it becomes feasible to fabricate self-healing and versatile strain/stress sensors based on a single thermoset, with potential applications in wearable electronics for human healthcare.

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