vub wapenschild

Towards dynamic preventive self-restoring of thin films based on photo-reversible covalent networks

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Thin cross-linked polymer films with multiple reversible covalent bonds are developed as a sustainable self-restoring alternative for regular surface coatings prone to fatigue- and micro damage. In this project novel photo-reversible covalent linking units will be synthesized that can be split and reformed multiple times by different wavelengths of light without appreciable degradation. An innovative network-design will guarantee that small damages will be repaired by a continuous re-shuffling of reversible bonds, while retaining the overall covalent network and thereby the material’s integrity. To optimize the reversible covalent network’s performance under standard lighting conditions, the photo-chemical characteristics of the reversible linker will be tuned to fit the solar spectrum by adjusting the chromophore’s substituents. The material development will at each step be supported by a thorough physicochemical characterization, aiming at building-up fundamental knowledge relating to the photoreversible reactions, the self-restoring process, the interactions between the materials, and structure-processing-property relations. 



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