A novel self-healing supramolecular polymer system
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1039/b900859d
Utilising supramolecular pi-pi stacking interactions to drive miscibility in two-component polymer blends offers a novel approach to producing materials with unique properties. We report in this paper the preparation of a supramolecular polymer network that exploits this principle. A low molecular weight polydiimide which contains multiple pi-electron-poor receptor sites along its backbone forms homogeneous films with a siloxane polymer that features pi-electron-rich pyrenyl end-groups. Compatibility results from a complexation process that involves chain-folding of the polydiimide to create an optimum binding site for the pi-electron-rich chain ends of the polysiloxane. These complementary pi-electron-rich and -poor receptors exhibit rapid and reversible complexation behaviour in solution, and healable characteristics in the solid state in response to temperature. A mechanism is proposed for this thermoreversible healing behaviour that involves disruption of the intermolecular pi-pi stacking cross-links as the temperature of the supramolecular film is increased. The low T-g siloxane component can then flow and as the temperature of the blend is decreased, pi-pi stacking interactions drive formation of a new network and so lead to good damage-recovery characteristics of the two-component blend.
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