A hybrid polymer gel with controlled rates of cross-link rupture and self-repair.
A family of hybrid polymer gels is described, in which covalent cross-links create a permanent, stiff scaffold onto which reversible metal-ligand coordinative cross-links are added. The reversible metal-ligand interactions are shown to bear mechanical stress within the hybrid gel, and relaxations in response to that applied stress are consistent with the stress-free kinetics of ligand exchange in systems that model the reversible cross-links. The stress-induced dissociation of a model metal-ligand complex is examined by a single-molecule force spectroscopy, and its mechanical response is compared with a previously studied complex. The mechanical response of the individual interactions is relevant to those found in the family of hybrid gels, and the modular platform is therefore suitable for the study of stress-induced molecular dissociations, and their subsequent repair, within a macroscopic material of fixed structure.
Kersey, FR; Loveless, DM; Craig, SL
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