Polymeric gels and networks are ubiquitous in daily life (foodstuff, cosmetics) and high-added value applications (tissue engineering, adhesives, coating, drug release, portable batteries, additive manufacturing). They can be either permanent (covalently cross-linked) and resist flow, or physical (reversible) and easy to process while creeping at long times. The grand challenge is to efficiently combine and control within the same material, distinct features of these two classes of networks, such as large mechanical strength, deformability, swelling and self-healing, in order to create multiply responsive materials for new applications.
The objective of DoDyNet is to develop a research roadmap that enhances our understanding of the synergistic effects arising by combining distinct dynamic modes within a polymeric network. These ‘Double Dynamics Networks’ (DDNs) are characterized by a multi-scale viscoelastic response that can be tuned via molar mass, fraction of component and dynamics of (transient or exchangeable) bonds. This will enable us to selectively tailor their macroscopic properties at molecular level.
Based on this concept, the integrated research program involves:
1. novel synthesis of different DDNs;
2. detailed analysis of structure;
3. rheology and dynamics;
4. modeling and simulations;
5. mechanical properties relevant to applications.
The project and researchers benefit from the close inter-connection among these complementary tasks with the goal to obtain criteria for designing and developing new industrial DDN systems and optimizing existing materials.
The coordinator of the project is Evelyne van Ruymbeke (UCL / BSMA).