Solvent-assisted programming of flat polymer sheets into reconfigurable and self-healing 3D structures.
- Author(s): Yang, Yang
- Terentjev, Eugene M
- Wei, Yen
- Ji, Yan
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-04257-x
It is extremely challenging, yet critically desirable to convert 2D plastic films into 3D structures without any assisting equipment. Taking the advantage of solvent-induced bond-exchange reaction and elastic-plastic transition, shape programming of flat vitrimer polymer sheets offers a new way to obtain 3D structures or topologies, which are hard for traditional molding to achieve. Here we show that such programming can be achieved with a pipette, a hair dryer, and a bottle of solvent. The polymer used here is very similar to the commercial epoxy, except that a small percentage of a specific catalyst is involved to facilitate the bond-exchange reaction. The programmed 3D structures can later be erased, reprogrammed, welded with others, and healed again and again, using the same solvent-assisted technique. The 3D structures can also be recycled by hot-pressing into new sheets, which can still be repeatedly programmed.