Publication on ionically crosslinked elastomers is out in Soft Matter

Incorporation of reversible crosslinks into polymers is an effective approach for tailoring their mechanical properties and to realizing behavior like self-healing, shape memory, and pH sensitivity. Among various reversible crosslink types, ionic bonds are particularly interesting because of their biocompatibility, saloplasticity, and relevance for energy conversion technologies. Understanding the structure-function relationship of such polymers is important for future development of advanced materials. In our latest paper, led by PhD candidate Hongyi Cai, we address this question by designing and characterizing a series of highly stretchable elastomers inspired by polyelectrolyte complexes. We demonstrate how ionic bonds formed among polymer chains strengthen the elastomers and also help them recover.

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