Self-healable elastomers are extremely attractive due to their ability to prolong product lifetime; however, they can develop cracks when exposed to certain environments, leading to air and water leaks. An additional function that could further expand their applications is strong adhesion force to clean and dusty surfaces.
Researchers have developed self-healing elastomers that demonstrate unprecedented adhesion strength and the ability to adhere to many surfaces, which could broaden their potential use in industrial applications. The researchers used a blend of a self-healing polymer with curable elastomers to produce a series of self-healable and highly adhesive materials. The team proved that these elastomers can self-repair in ambient temperatures and conditions, as well as underwater, with their adhesive force only minimally impacted by surface dust. The autonomous, self-healable, and highly adhesive elastomers (ASHA Elastomer) are fabricated via a simple, efficient, and scalable process.
The elastomers exhibit outstanding mechanical properties with elongation at break up to 2102 percent and toughness (modulus of toughness) of 1.73 MJ m–3. The damaged ASHA Elastomer can autonomously self heal with full recovery of functionalities and the healing process is not affected by the presence of water. The elastomers are found to possess an ultrahigh adhesion force up to 3488 N m–1, greatly outperforming previously reported self-healing adhesive elastomers.
The successful development of high-toughness, autonomous, self-healable, and ultra-adhesive elastomers will enable a wide range of applications with enhanced longevity and versatility including their use in sealants, adhesives, and stretchable devices.