Research Article: Realizing Crack Diagnosing and Self‐Healing by Electricity with a Dynamic Crosslinked Flexible Polyurethane Composite

Date Published: March 08, 2018

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

Author(s): Wuli Pu, Daihua Fu, Zhanhua Wang, Xinpeng Gan, Xili Lu, Li Yang, Hesheng Xia.


Combining self‐healing functions with damage diagnosing, which can achieve timely healing autonomously, is expected to improve the reliability and reduce life cycle cost of materials. Here, a flexible conductive composite composed of a dynamically crosslinked polyurethane bearing Diels–Alder bonds (PUDA) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which possess both crack diagnosing and self‐healing functions, is reported. The introduced dynamic Diels–Alder bonds endow the materials self‐healing function and the powder‐based preparation route based on the specially designed CNTs‐coated PUDA micropowders leads to the formation of segregated CNTs network, which makes the composite possess excellent mechanical properties and high conductivity. Because of the sufficient electrothermal and photothermal effect of CNTs, the composites can be healed rapidly and repeatedly by electricity or near‐infrared light based on the retro‐Diels–Alder reaction. An obvious color difference in the infrared thermograph resulting from the resistance difference between damaged and undamaged area can be observed when applying the voltage, which can be used for crack diagnosing. Using the same electrical circuit, the crack in the PUDA/CNTs composite can be noninvasively detected first and then be autonomously healed. The composites also exhibit a strain‐sensing function with good sensitivity and high reliability, thus will have potential applications in electronic strain sensors.

Partial Text

Materials: Polycaprolactone diol (PCL, Mn≈4000 g mol−1, Pershorp, Capa2402) was dried under vacuum at 110 °C for 12 h prior to use. 4, 4′‐Diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI, Mn = 250 g mol−1) was purchased from Yantai Wanhua Group. Hexamethylene diisocyanate trimer (tri‐HDI) was used as crosslinking agent without further purification. The 1‐(hydroxymethyl)‐10‐oxatricyclo[,6] dec‐8‐ene‐3,5‐dione‐2‐aminoethanol compound with Diels–Alder bond was synthesized by the same synthetic routes as Lu.36 Anhydrous 1, 4‐dioxane was obtained by distillation over sodium benzophenone. CNTs (NC7000) were obtained from Nanocyl, Belgium, which has an average diameter of 10–15 nm and length of 1.5 µm.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.




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