An adhesive elastomeric supramolecular polyurethane healable at body temperature†
In this paper, we report the synthesis and healing ability of a non-cytotoxic supramolecular polyurethane network whose mechanical properties can be recovered efficiently (>99%) at the temperature of the human body (37 °C). Rheological analysis revealed an acceleration in the drop of the storage modulus above 37 °C, on account of the dissociation of the supramolecular polyurethane network, and this decrease in viscosity enables the efficient recovery of the mechanical properties. Microscopic and mechanical characterisation has shown that this material is able to recover mechanical properties across a damage site with minimal contact required between the interfaces and also demonstrated that the mechanical properties improved when compared to other low temperature healing elastomers or gel-like materials. The supramolecular polyurethane was found to be non-toxic in a cytotoxicity assay carried out in human skin fibroblasts (cell viability > 94% and non-significantly different compared to the untreated control). This supramolecular network material also exhibited excellent adhesion to pig skin and could be healed completely in situ post damage indicating that biomedical applications could be targeted, such as artificial skin or wound dressings with supramolecular materials of this type.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Top 50 Articles of 2016: Materials Chemistry and Nanoscience