Highly Damping and Self-Healable Ionic Elastomer from Dynamic Phase Separation of Sticky Fluorinated Polymers
Huai Xiang, Xiaoxia Li, Baohu Wu, Shengtong Sun*, and Peiyi Wu*. Highly Damping and Self-Healable Ionic Elastomer from Dynamic Phase Separation of Sticky Fluorinated Polymers. Adv. Mater. 2023, 35, 2209581.
Shock-induced low-frequency vibration damage is extremely harmful to bionic soft robots and machines that may incur the malfunction of fragile electronic elements. However, current skin-like self-healable ionic elastomers as the artificial sensing and protecting layer still lack the ability to dampen vibrations, due to their almost opposite design for molecular frictions to material’s elasticity. Inspired by the two-phase structure of adipose tissue (the natural damping skin layer), here, a highly damping ionic elastomer with energy-dissipating nanophases embedded in an elastic matrix is introduced, which is formed by polymerization-induced dynamic phase separation of sticky fluorinated copolymers in the presence of lithium salts. Such a supramolecular design decouples the elastic and damping functions into two distinct phases, and thus reconciles a few intriguing properties including ionic conductivity, high stretchability, softness, strain-stiffening, elastic recovery, room-temperature self-healability, recyclability, and most importantly, record-high damping capacity at the human motion frequency range (loss factor tan δ > 1 at 0.1–50 Hz). This study opens the door for the artificial syntheses of high-performance damping ionic skins with robust sensing and protective applications in soft electronics and robotics.