Natural skin-inspired versatile cellulose biomimetic hydrogels†
Artificial skin-like materials have wide applications, particularly in flexible electronics. However, developing intelligent skin-like soft materials with a remarkable range of properties is still a challenge. Herein, a versatile biomimetic hydrogel inspired by natural skin was fabricated based on Ag/TA@CNC (cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) decorated with tannic acid (TA) and Ag nanoparticles) nanohybrids and polyvinyl alcohol via dynamic borate ester bond crosslinking, which realized the combination of superstretchability (>4000%), efficient (within 10 min, 98.6%) and repeatable self-healing property, conformability and mechano-stimuli sensitivity within a single structure. This skin-inspired hydrogel can be assembled as a self-healing flexible capacitive sensor to track human body motions with a relatively broad sensible range of strain (up to 400%). Meanwhile, the hydrogel can be further used for repairing circuits, constructing switches, programmed electrical circuit assembly, as electronic skin, and in touch screen pens. Moreover, the modified CNCs could be used as a functional trigger to endow the nanocomposite hydrogels with excellent antibacterial properties and repeatable self-adhesiveness, which also play an important role in bionic skin materials. Compared with previous skin-like materials, these nanocellulose biomimetic hydrogels achieve more favorable functionalities in mimicking natural skin, which can meet versatile application needs ranging from flexible/wearable/self-healable electronic devices to artificial electronic skin.