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Shear-Thickening Covalent Adaptive Networks for Bifunctional Impact-Protective and Post-Tunable Tactile Sensors

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posted on 2022-12-27, 15:39 authored by Chuanbin Wang, Guoliang Lei, Ruizhi Zhang, Xiaozhuang Zhou, Jiaxi Cui, Qiang Shen, Guoqiang Luo, Lianmeng Zhang
Shear-thickening materials have been widely applied in fields related to smart impact protection due to their ability to absorb large amounts of energy during sudden shock. Shear-thickening materials with multifunctional properties are expanding their applications in wearable electronics, where tactile sensors require interconnected networks. However, current bifunctional shear-thickening cross-linked polymer materials depend on supramolecular networks or slightly dynamic covalently cross-linked networks, which usually exhibit lower energy-absorption density than the highly dynamic covalently cross-linked networks. Herein, we employed boric ester-based covalent adaptive networks (CANs) to elucidate the shear-thickening property and the mechanism of energy dissipation during sudden shock. Guided by the enhanced energy-absorption capability of double networks and the requirements of the conductive networks for the wearable tactile sensors, tungsten powders (W) were incorporated into the boric ester polymer matrix to form a second network. The W networks make the materials stiffer, with a 13-fold increase in Young’s modulus. Additionally, the energy-absorption capacity increased nearly 7 times. Finally, we applied these excellent energy-absorbing and conductive materials to bifunctional shock-protective and strain rate-dependent tactile sensors. Considering the self-healable and recyclable properties, we believe that these anti-impact and tactile sensing materials will be of great interest in wearable devices, smart impact-protective systems, post-tunable materials, etc.

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