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

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Abstract

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
JournalMacromolecules
Volume43
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • hydrogels
  • rheology
  • strength
  • gels

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