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Self-healing materials are of fundamental interest and practical importance. Herein we report the synthesis of a new class of self-healing materials, formed by the copolymerization of ethylene and anisyl-substituted propylenes using a sterically demanding half-sandwich scandium catalyst. The copolymerization proceeded in a controlled fashion, affording unique multi-block copolymers composed of relatively long alternating ethylene- alt-anisylpropylene sequences and short ethylene-ethylene units. By controlling the molecular weight and varying the anisyl substituents, a series of copolymers that show a wide range of glass-transition temperatures ( T) and mechanical properties have been obtained. The copolymers with T below room temperature showed high elastic modulus, high toughness, and remarkable self-healability, being able to autonomously self-heal upon mechanical damage not only in a dry environment but also in water and aqueous acid and alkaline solutions, while those with T around or above room temperature exhibited excellent shape-memory property. The unique mechanical properties may be ascribed to the phase separation of the crystalline ethylene-ethylene nanodomains from the ethylene- alt-anisylpropylene matrix.
PMID: 30727726 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]