Publication Date

2017

Journal or Book Title

Soft Matter

Abstract

Gels are an increasingly important class of soft materials with applications ranging from regenerative medicine to commodity materials. A major drawback of gels is their relative mechanical weakness, which worsens further under strain. We report a new class of responsive gels with latent crosslinking moieties that exhibit strain-stiffening behavior. This property results from the lability of disulfides, initially isolated in a protected state, then activated to crosslink on-demand. The active thiol groups are induced to form inter-chain crosslinks when subjected to mechanical compression, resulting in a gel that strengthens under strain. Molecular shielding design elements regulate the strain-sensitivity and spontaneous crosslinking tendencies of the polymer network. These strain-responsive gels represent a rational design of new advanced materials with on-demand stiffening properties with potential applications in elastomers, adhesives, foams, films, and fibers.

DOI

10.1039/C7SM01888F

Volume

13

Pages

9007-9014

License

UMass Amherst Open Access Policy

Share

COinS