Exploring a naturally tailored small molecule for stretchable, self-healing, and adhesive supramolecular polymers

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Science Advances  27 Jul 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 7, eaat8192
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat8192


Polymeric materials with integrated functionalities are required to match their ever-expanding practical applications, but there is always a trade-off between complex material performances and synthetic simplification. A simple and effective synthesis route is reported to transform a small molecule of biological origin, thioctic acid, into a high-performance supramolecular polymeric material, which combines processability, ultrahigh stretchability, rapid self-healing ability, and reusable adhesivity to surfaces. The proposed one-step preparation process of this material involves the mixing of three commercially available feedstocks at mild temperature without any external solvent and a subsequent cooling process that resulted in a dynamic, high-density, and dry supramolecular polymeric network cross-linked by three different types of dynamic chemical bonds, whose cooperative effects in the network enable high performance of this supramolecular polymeric material.

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