Control of hierarchical polymer mechanics with bioinspired metal-coordination dynamics

Scott C. Grindy, Robert Learsch, Davoud Mozhdehi, Jing Cheng, Devin G. Barrett, Zhibin Guan, Phillip B. Messersmith, Niels Holten-Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations

Abstract

In conventional polymer materials, mechanical performance is traditionally engineered via material structure, using motifs such as polymer molecular weight, polymer branching, or block copolymer design. Here, by means of a model system of 4-arm poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels crosslinked with multiple, kinetically distinct dynamic metal-ligand coordinate complexes, we show that polymer materials with decoupled spatial structure and mechanical performance can be designed. By tuning the relative concentration of two types of metal-ligand crosslinks, we demonstrate control over the material's mechanical hierarchy of energy-dissipating modes under dynamic mechanical loading, and therefore the ability to engineer a priori the viscoelastic properties of these materials by controlling the types of crosslinks rather than by modifying the polymer itself. This strategy to decouple material mechanics from structure is general and may inform the design of soft materials for use in complex mechanical environments. Three examples that demonstrate this are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1216
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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