Self-healing copolymers via van der Waals interactions

Conference Dates

November 10-14, 2019


Materials with build-in responsive components are outstanding candidates for the development of sustainable technologies. Last decade efforts have primarily focused in incorporating supramolecular chemistry and reversible covalent bonding in the development of self-healing polymers. This lecture will outline recent advances in self-healing polymers, with the primary focus on the recent advances in the development of commodity self-healable polymers. Inspired by plants, self-healing can be achieved by incorporating viscoelastic responses to their microstructures during their formation, thus enabling deformation upon mechanical damage to close a wound. This can be achieved by introducing multiphase-separated polymers composed of polycaprolactone, butanediol, and hexamethylene diisocyanate precursors copolymerized into a self-healing polymer.(1) The presence of micro-phase separated fibrous morphologies facilitate repeatable self-healing due to stable interfacial regions between the hard and soft segments of the copolymer, thus enabling of storage of entropic energy upon mechanical damage to be recovered during self-healing. This talk will provide the framework of van der Waals interactions in acrylic-based copolymers able to self-heal upon mechanical damage.(2) This behavior occurs when the monomer molar ratios are within a relatively narrow compositional range, forming reversible ‘key-and-lock’ interactions with preferentially alternating copolymer topologies. The unique self-healing behavior is attributed to favorable inter-chain van der Waals (vdW) forces manifested by the increased cohesive energy densities (CED) forming ‘key-and-lock’ inter-chain junctions, enabling multiple recovery upon mechanical damage without external intervention. The concept of redesigning commodity copolymers without elaborate chemical modifications will facilitate a platform for many technological opportunities and the development of new generations of sustainable copolymers with controlled chain topologies that survive repetitive damage-repair cycles.

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