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Toughening Elastomers Using a Mussel-Inspired Multiphase Design

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journal contribution
posted on 05.07.2018, 00:00 by Xuhui Zhang, Jun Liu, Zhiyu Zhang, Siwu Wu, Zhenghai Tang, Baochun Guo, Liqun Zhang
It is a challenge to simultaneously achieve high stretchability, high modulus, and recoverability of polymers. Inspired by the multiphase structure of mussel byssus cuticles, we circumvent this dilemma by introducing a deformable microphase-separated granule with rich coordination into a ductile rubber network. The granule can serve as an additional cross-link to improve the modulus, while the sacrificial, reversible coordination can dissociate and reconstruct continuously during stretching to dissipate energy. The elastomer with such a bioinspired multiphase structure exhibits over a 10-fold increase in toughness compared to the original sample. We envision that this work offers a novel yet facile biomimetic route toward high-performance elastomers.