Self-healing rubber materials

Tailoring of self-healing behavior and dimensional stability of rubber materials

Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V.

The project is devoted to the introduction and investigation of basic principles of self-healing for covalently cross-linked rubber materials. It combines synthesis and fabrication approaches and includes investigations of the material specific principles of synthesis, rubber fabrication, and final rubber properties. To realize the self-healing characteristics in the rubber material, we plan to exploit reversible bond forming techniques like hydrogen and ionic interactions in irreversible sulfur or peroxide cross-linked polymer networks. To bring perspective in this burgeoning field of self-healing in polymers, we aim at understanding the influence of hydrogen and ionic bonds in the direction of reinforcement and healing nature in the selected model elastomers (XNBR). The development and characterization of such self-healing polymers have been targeted to achieve a fundamental understanding of the micro- and macroscale changes in the constituent polymer. The material properties of the fabricated rubbers and their processing characteristics will be explored in detail with respect to standards in rubber technology using several physically based advanced characterization methods and approaches. The efficiency of the self-healing approaches with respect to rubber applications will also be studied, amongst others with recently improved methods of measuring the resistance against stationary crack propagation (e.g., tearing energy). Such studies will not be a selfcontained scientific issue; they are an essential "acid test" of the primary project goals.