Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Polymer Healing By Olefin Metathesis

A touch of a ruthenium catalyst and a little pressure are all it takes to repair cracks in cross-linked polybutadiene

by Bethany Halford
August 13, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 33

A way to efficiently repair cuts and cracks in polymers via the formation of new, strong carbon-carbon bonds has been devised by chemists at the University of California, Irvine (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja306287s). Yi-Xuan Lu and Zhibin Guan came up with the strategy, which makes use of the olefin metathesis reaction to shuffle C=C bonds at the fracture interface of cross-linked polybutadiene. The researchers introduce a small amount—as little as 0.005%—of Grubbs second-generation ruthenium metathesis catalyst into the polymer. Wherever the polymer is cut, healing occurs by simply pressing the two fracture surfaces together with moderate pressure (10 to 30 kilopascal) and then waiting. The catalyst-loaded polymer repairs itself at temperatures as low as 5 °C, although it takes longer than healing at ambient temperature. Lu and Guan also show they can use the metathesis reaction to repair ruthenium-free cross-linked poly­buta­diene by simply applying a small amount of the catalyst to the fracture surfaces and pressing the wound shut. “The approach is simple, effective, and potentially applicable to a wide range of olefin-containing polymers such as polyisoprene, butyl rubber, polynorbornene, and other polymers containing double bonds amenable for metathesis,” they note.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment