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Using the dynamic bond to access macroscopically responsive structurally dynamic polymers

Abstract

New materials that have the ability to reversibly adapt to their environment and possess a wide range of responses ranging from self-healing to mechanical work are continually emerging. These adaptive systems have the potential to revolutionize technologies such as sensors and actuators, as well as numerous biomedical applications. We will describe the emergence of a new trend in the design of adaptive materials that involves the use of reversible chemistry (both non-covalent and covalent) to programme a response that originates at the most fundamental (molecular) level. Materials that make use of this approach — structurally dynamic polymers — produce macroscopic responses from a change in the material's molecular architecture (that is, the rearrangement or reorganization of the polymer components, or polymeric aggregates). This design approach requires careful selection of the reversible/dynamic bond used in the construction of the material to control its environmental responsiveness.

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Figure 1: Characteristic features of the dynamic bond.
Figure 2: Thermally responsive structurally dynamic polymers.
Figure 3: Supramolecular structurally dynamic re-healable materials.
Figure 4: Thermally responsive structurally dynamic materials.
Figure 5: Chemically responsive structurally dynamic materials.
Figure 6: Mechanically responsive structurally dynamic materials.
Figure 7: Photoresponsive molecularly dynamic materials.
Figure 8: Electro/redox-responsive molecularly dynamic materials.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the National Science Foundation (DMR-0602869, CHE-0704026, and CBET-0828155), the US Army Research Office (DAAD19-03-1-0208 and W911NF-06-1-0414) for funding research in this area. M.A.M. acknowledges support from the Subsonics Fixed Wing Project on the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. R.J.W. acknowledges support through the NASA Graduate Student Research Program (NNX08AY62H).

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Wojtecki, R., Meador, M. & Rowan, S. Using the dynamic bond to access macroscopically responsive structurally dynamic polymers. Nature Mater 10, 14–27 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat2891

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