Self-healing materials based on disulfide links
Autonomous healing of damage is a common phenomenon in living organisms but is hardly ever encountered in synthetic materials. Disulfide chemistry is used to introduce a self-healing ability in a covalently cross-linked rubber. Autonomous healing of a cut takes place at moderate temperatures and leads to full recovery of mechanical properties. This result is achieved by introducing disulfide groups in the network that are able to exchange, leading to renewal of cross-links across the damaged surfaces. The healing process can be repeated many times. The combination of their unique self-healing properties and applicability for a large variety of polymers makes this approach ideal for coatings. © 2011 American Chemical Society.