Research program title
Development of smart nanostructured crosslinked networks: A versatile approach to solving conundrum for robust self-healability and enhanced mechanical properties
The development of self-healable thermosets has drawn significant efforts from both academia and industries. A promising solution to fabricate effective healable polymeric networks is the incorporation of reversible (or dynamic) chemistries into the design of crosslinked networks that undergo reversible dissociation and reconstruction autonomously or in response to external stimuli. Despite the significant advances, most self-healable materials have been designed with soft networks to promote rapid void-filling of cracks or defects. However, these soft networks present week mechanical properties (module and toughness).
To address this trade-off between mechanical strength and dynamic healing, this proposed research explores a new concept for the development of nanostructured crosslinked networks, in which functional nanoadditives are covalently embedded and consequently are uniformly dispersed, thus improving the balance of self-healing and mechanical strength. The strategy utilizes the surface modification of nanoadditives with reactive block copolymers, forming block copolymer-stabilized nanoadditives as nanostructured crosslinkers, and the new macromolecular engineering approach, forming robust self-healable networks. The newly-developed heterogeneous networks will be effective building blocks for the construction of advanced devices requiring multifunctionalities, such as transparent and stretchable electrodes and flexible electronics.
Academic qualifications required
PhD in polymer chemistry and materials engineering with strong experience in the synthesis, characterization, and application of polymeric materials.