American Chemical Society
mz9b00845_si_001.pdf (3.19 MB)

Facile Strategy for the Biomimetic Heterogeneous Design of Elastomers with Mechanical Robustness, Malleability, and Functionality

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-12-20, 14:36 authored by Jing Huang, Shaoxin Kong, Zhenghai Tang, Siwu Wu, Baochun Guo, Liqun Zhang
It remains challenging to simultaneously realize mechanical robustness, malleability, and functionality in elastomers via facile yet efficient methods. Herein, a simple strategy for the biomimetic heterogeneous design is proposed to achieve mechanically strong, malleable, and functionalized elastomers. We demonstrate the strategy by straightforward mechanical mixing of a highly cross-linked vitrimeric elastomer with a homogeneous gum and subsequent curing, resulting in heterogeneous vitrimeric elastomers (hetero-VEs). The hetero-VEs comprise two phases: a hard phase with dense cross-links and a soft matrix with few cross-links, with excellent interface between the two phases. The hard phases can be deformed upon loading, dissipating energy, which significantly improves the overall mechanical performance of the hetero-VEs. When conductive fillers are incorporated into the soft matrix, due to the volume exclusion effect of the hard phases, the resultant hetero-VEs exhibit high conductivity with a small fraction of fillers. In view of the facile and generic preparation process, this strategy should be a promising way to reinforce and functionalize many vitrimeric elastomer systems.