A new paper by Jian-Cheng Lai titled "Thermodynamically stable whilst kinetically labile coordination bonds lead to strong and tough self-healing polymers"was published by Nat. Commun. 2019, 10:1164！
There is often a trade-off between mechanical properties (modulus and toughness) and dynamic self-healing. Here we report the design and synthesis of a polymer containing thermodynamically stable whilst kinetically labile coordination complex to address this conundrum. The Zn-Hbimcp (Hbimcp = 2,6-bis((imino)methyl)-4-chlorophenol) coordination bond used in this work has a relatively large association constant (2.2 × 1011) but also undergoes fast and reversible intra- and inter-molecular ligand exchange processes. The as-prepared Zn(Hbimcp)2-PDMS polymer is highly stretchable (up to 2400% strain) with a high toughness of 29.3 MJm−3, and can autonomously self-heal at room temperature. Control experiments showed that the optimal combination of its bond strength and bond dynamics is responsible for the material’s mechanical toughness and self-healing property. This molecular design concept points out a promising direction for the preparation of selfhealing polymers with excellent mechanical properties. We further show this type of polymer can be potentially used as energy absorbing material.
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