Successful development of a functional material that exhibits rapid self-healing

November 11, 2021

Development of practical materials that can self-heal in various environments is expected

A joint research team from RIKEN CSRS and Oita University achieved “precise terpolymerization” of two different polar olefins and ethylene by a rare-earth metal catalyst, and succeeded in creating a new "functional polymer" that demonstrates rapid self-healing.

The joint research team achieved precise terpolymerization of ethylene and two different methoxyaryl-substituted propylenes for the first time by using a scandium (Sc) catalyst newly developed by the team. The new polymer exhibits excellent elastomeric properties, with an elongation percentage of approximately 1,400% and a breaking strength of approximately 3 megapascals (MPa, 1 MPa = 1 million pascals) and repairs itself quickly (as fast as 1 minute). In addition, the polymer shows self-healing not only in the atmosphere but also in water, as well as in acidic and alkaline aqueous solutions, without any external stimulus or energy. Furthermore, by changing the composition ratio of the two types of anisyl propylenes, the glass transition temperature (Tg) can be precisely controlled at any temperature from -31°C to 98°C.

The results of this research are expected to make a significant contribution to the development of new functional materials that can exhibit self-healing and are highly practical in various environments such as in water and in acidic and alkaline solutions, as well as in the atmosphere.

Original article
Angewandte Chemie International Edition (Selected as a very important paper (VIP)) doi:10.1002/anie.202111161
Y. Yang, H. Wang, L. Huang, M. Nishiura, Y. Higaki, Z. Hou,
"Terpolymerization of Ethylene and Two Different Methoxyaryl-substituted Propylenes by Scandium Catalyst Makes Tough and Fast Self-Healing Elastomers".
Zhaomin Hou; Group Director
Masayoshi Nishiura; Senior Research Scientist
Advanced Catalysis Research Group