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Experimental testing of self-healing ability of soft polymer materials

Perepelkin, Nikolay V. ORCID:, Martin-Martinez, Jose M., Kovalev, Alexander E., Borodich, Feodor M. ORCID: and Gorb, Stanislav N. 2019. Experimental testing of self-healing ability of soft polymer materials. Meccanica 54 (13) , pp. 1959-1970. 10.1007/s11012-019-00965-w

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Bioinspired materials that act like living tissues and can repair internal damage by themselves, i.e. self-healing materials, are an active field of research. Here a methodology for experimental testing of self-healing ability of soft polymer materials is described. The methodology is applied to a recently synthesized polyurethane material Smartpol (ADHTECH Smart Polymers & Adhesives S.L., Alicante, Spain). Series of tests showed that the material demonstrated self-healing ability. The tests included the following steps: each Smartpol specimen was cut in halves, then it was put together under compression, and after specified amount of time, it was pulled apart while monitoring the force in contact. The test conditions were intentionally chosen to be non-ideal. These non-idealities simultaneously included: (1) separation time was rather long (minutes and dozens of minutes), (2) there was misalignment of specimen parts when they were put together, (3) contacting surfaces were non-flat, and (4) repeated testing of the same specimens was performed and, therefore, repeated damage was simulated. Despite the above, the recovery of structural integrity (self-healing) of the material was observed which demonstrated the remarkable features of Smartpol. Analysis of the experimental results showed clear correlation between adhesion forces (observed through the values of maximum pull-off force) and the time in contact which is a clear indicator of self-healing ability of material. It is argued that the factors contributing to self-healing of the tested material at macro-scale were high adhesion and strong viscoelasticity. The results of fitting the force relaxation data by means of mathematical model containing multiple exponential terms suggested that the material behaviour may be adequately described by the generalized Maxwell model.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0025-6455
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 March 2019
Date of Acceptance: 24 February 2019
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 22:39

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