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A Transparent, Self-Healing, Highly Stretchable Ionic Conductor
Self-healing materials can repair damage caused by mechanical wear, thereby extending lifetime of devices. Here, a transparent, self-healing, highly stretchable ionic conductor is presented that autonomously heals after experiencing severe mechanical damage.
We introduce a transparent, highly stretchable ionic conductor with autonomous self-healing capability by harnessing ion–dipole interactions as the dynamic bonds for self-healing. This material tolerates extreme strains exceeding 5000%, features an ionic conductivity of 10−4 S cm−1, and shows high transparency across the visible spectrum with an average transmittance of 92%. More importantly, the material can completely heal mechanical properties within 24 h at room temperature without any external stimulus. We illustrate the unique combination of attractive properties of the transparent, self-healing, highly stretchable ionic conductor when used to electrically activate transparent artificial muscles that autonomously heal after severe mechanical damage.
A video of the dielectric elastomer actuator can be seen here:
This paper, which is the result of a collaboration between Prof. Chao Wang's group from the University of California, Riverside and Prof. Christoph Keplinger's group from the University of Colorado, Boulder is now online in Advanced Materials (DOI: 10.1002/adma.201605099):
We welcome any and all comments from the community, and are looking forward to finding additional applications for this material.