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Stretchable, self-healing, transient macromolecular elastomeric gel for wearable electronics, Microsystems & Nanoengineeringvolume 5, Article number: 9 (2019)

Mingming Hao1,2, Lianhui Li1, Shuqi Wang1, Fuqin Sun1, Yuanyuan Bai1, Zhiguang Cao1, Chunyan Qu1,2 and Ting Zhang1

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Abstract:
Flexible and stretchable electronics are emerging in mainstream technologies and represent promising directions for future lifestyles. Multifunctional stretchable materials with a self-healing ability to resist mechanical damage are highly desirable but remain challenging to create. Here, we report a stretchable macromolecular elastomeric gel with the unique abilities of not only self-healing but also transient properties at room temperature. By inserting small molecule glycerol into hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC), forming a glycerol/hydroxyethylcellulose (GHEC) macromolecular elastomeric gel, dynamic hydrogen bonds occur between the HEC chain and the guest small glycerol molecules, which endows the GHEC with an excellent stretchability (304%) and a self-healing ability under ambient conditions. Additionally, the GHEC elastomeric gel is completely water-soluble, and its degradation rate can be tuned by adjusting the HEC molecular weight and the ratio of the HEC to glycerol. We demonstrate several flexible and stretchable electronics devices, such as self-healing conductors, transient transistors, and electronic skins for robots based on the GHEC elastomeric gel to illustrate its multiple functions.


Full article:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41378-019-0047-4