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A General Bioinspired, Metals-Based Synergic Cross-Linking Strategy toward Mechanically Enhanced Materials

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journal contribution
posted on 27.02.2017, 00:00 by Ke Chen, Jin Ding, Shuhao Zhang, Xuke Tang, Yonghai Yue, Lin Guo
Creating lightweight engineering materials combining high strength and great toughness remains a significant challenge. Despite possessing-enhanced strength and stiffness, bioinspired/polymeric materials usually suffer from clearly reduced extensibility and toughness when compared to corresponding bulk polymer materials. Herein, inspired by tiny amounts of various inorganic impurities for mechanical improvement in natural materials, we present a versatile and effective metal ion (Mn+)-based synergic cross-linking (MSC) strategy incorporating eight types of metal ions into material bulks that can drastically enhance the tensile strength (∼24.1–70.8%), toughness (∼18.6–110.1%), modulus (∼21.6–66.7%), and hardness (∼6.4–176.5%) of multiple types of pristine materials (from hydrophilic to hydrophobic and from unary to binary). More importantly, we also explore the primarily elastic–plastic deformation mechanism and brittle fracture behavior (indentation strain of >5%) of the synergic cross-linked graphene oxide (Syn-GO) paper by means of in situ nanoindentation SEM. The MSC strategy for mechanically enhanced integration can be readily attributed to the formation of the complicated metals-based cross-linking/complex networks in the interfaces and intermolecules between functional groups of materials and various metal ions that give rise to efficient energy dissipation. This work suggests a promising MSC strategy for designing advanced materials with outstanding mechanical properties by adding low amounts (<1.0 wt %) of synergic metal ions serving as synergic ion-bonding cross-linkers.