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Project TitleUltra-stretchable and self-healing ionic nanocomposites exhibiting multi-responsive behavior
Track Code7418
Short Description

A new family of self-healing multi-responsive nanocomposites have been developed which leverage the dynamic nature of electrostatic interactions and the ability nanoparticles to mechanically reinforce nanocomposites.


This new polymeric material exploits the dynamic and reversible nature of ionic interactions and the enhancement in mechanical strength obtained with nanocomposites. This combined approach leads to composites having a property profile that simultaneously shows enhanced stiffness and toughness yet maintains superior extensibility compared to the neat polymer.

(Above) Ionic nanocomposites synthesized via self-assembly of imidazolium-functionalized polyurethanes with sulfonate-modified silica nanoparticles.



Despite the high silica loadings (20%), the hybrids show good dispersion, which we attribute to the presence of electrostatic interactions in the system. TEM studies show the nanoparticles are uniformly dispersed, a typical challenge of conventional, non-ionic based nanocomposites.



(Above) The polyurethane based material containing 20 wt.% of nanosilica-SO3H spontaneously self-heals when heated to 50°C for 5 hours.


This ionic polyurethane based nanocomposite exhibits unique strain-dependent behavior; the deformation rate increases with increasing strain, meaning it remains pliable not brittle. The material returns to its normal state upon mild thermal treatment giving this material shape-memory and the ability for scratch recovery.



In laboratory studies, surface scratches 500 µm deep and 160 µm wide were made at room temperature. The scratches were spontaneously healed by heating the material to 50°C/120F for 5 hours. (As shown in the images above) This temperature of 50°C is less than the summer surface temperatures of pavement, buildings, power lines and other infrastructure, meaning self-healing of coatings on these surfaces and many others would require minimal, if any, additional energy input.

TagsPolymer; Self-Healing; Coating
Posted DateJul 28, 2017 3:27 PM


Emmanuel Giannelis
Jeremy Odent
Jean-Marie Raquez
Philippe Dubois

Additional Information


“Ultra-stretchable ionic nanocomposites: from dynamic bonding to multi-responsive behavior“
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 5, 13357.

Licensing Contact

Carolyn A. Theodore
607 254 4514


File Name Description
D7418 Tech Brief PDF Tech Brief for D-7418 Download
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