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Nat Chem. 2016 Jun;8(6):618-24. doi: 10.1038/nchem.2492. Epub 2016 Apr 18.

A highly stretchable autonomous self-healing elastomer.

Author information

1
Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
2
State Key Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.
3
Department of Chemistry, University of California Riverside, Riverside, California 92521, USA.
4
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
5
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.
6
Materials Science and Engineering Program, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA.
7
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
8
National Laboratory of Solid State Microstructure, Department of Physics, Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.

Abstract

It is a challenge to synthesize materials that possess the properties of biological muscles-strong, elastic and capable of self-healing. Herein we report a network of poly(dimethylsiloxane) polymer chains crosslinked by coordination complexes that combines high stretchability, high dielectric strength, autonomous self-healing and mechanical actuation. The healing process can take place at a temperature as low as -20 °C and is not significantly affected by surface ageing and moisture. The crosslinking complexes used consist of 2,6-pyridinedicarboxamide ligands that coordinate to Fe(III) centres through three different interactions: a strong pyridyl-iron one, and two weaker carboxamido-iron ones through both the nitrogen and oxygen atoms of the carboxamide groups. As a result, the iron-ligand bonds can readily break and re-form while the iron centres still remain attached to the ligands through the stronger interaction with the pyridyl ring, which enables reversible unfolding and refolding of the chains. We hypothesize that this behaviour supports the high stretchability and self-healing capability of the material.

PMID:
27219708
DOI:
10.1038/nchem.2492

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