Fracture and Self-Healing in a Well-Defined Self-Assembled Polymer Network

P.J. Skrzeszewska, J.H.B. Sprakel, F.A. de Wolf, R.G. Fokkink, M.A. Cohen Stuart, J. van der Gucht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


We studied shear-induced fracture and self-healing of well-defined transient polymer networks formed by telechelic polypeptides, with nodes formed by collagen-like triple helices. When these gels are sheared at a rate that is higher than the inverse relaxation time of the nodes, fracture occurs at a critical stress which increases logarithmically with increasing shear rate. When a constant stress is applied, fracture occurs after a delay time that decreases exponentially with increasing stress. These observations indicate that fracture in these systems is due to stress-activated rupture of triple-helical junctions. After rupture, the physical gels heal completely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3542-3548
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • hydrogels
  • rheology
  • strength
  • gels


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