Supramolecular Nested Microbeads as Building Blocks for Macroscopic Self-healing Scaffolds

06 Jul 2018

Abstract: The ability to construct self-healing scaffolds which are injectable and capable of forming a designed morphology, offers the possibility to engineer sustainable materials. Here, we introduce a concept of supramolecular nested microbeads, which can be used as building blocks to construct macroscopic self-healing scaffolds. The core-shell microbeads remain in an “inert” state due to the isolation of a pair of complementary polymers, in a form that can be stored as an aqueous suspension. An annealing process after injection effectively induces the re-construction of the microbead units, leading to a supramolecular gelation in a pre-configured shape. The resulting macroscopic scaffold is dynamically stable, displaying self-recover in a self-healing electronic conductor. This strategy of using the supramolecular assembled nested microbeads as building blocks represents an alternative to injectable hydrogel systems, and shows promise in the field of structural biomaterials and flexible-electronics.