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Mechanochromism and optical remodeling of multi-network elastomers containing anthracene dimers

Abstract : Multi-network elastomers are both stiff and tough by virtue of containing a pre-stretched stiff network that can rupture and dissipate energy under load. However, the rupture of this sacrificial network in all described covalent multi-network elastomers is irreversible. Herein, we describe the first example of multi-network elastomers with a reformable sacrificial network containing mechanochemically sensitive anthracene-dimer cross-links. These cross-links also make our elastomers mechanochromic, with coloration that is both persistent and reversible, because the fluorogenic moiety (anthracene dimer) is regenerated upon irradiation of the material. In proof-of-concept experiments we demonstrate the utility of incorporating anthracene dimers in the backbone of the sacrificial network for monitoring mechanochemical remodeling of multi-network elastomers under cycling mechanical load. Stretching or compressing these elastomers makes them fluorescent and irradiating them eliminates the fluorescence by regenerating anthracene dimers. Reformable mechanochromic cross-links, exemplified by anthracene dimers, hold potential for enabling detailed studies of the molecular origin of the unique mechanical properties of multi-network elastomers.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 11, 2019 - 11:58:45 AM
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Huan Zhang, Dezhi Zeng, Yifei Pan, Yinjun Chen, Yonghong Ruan, et al.. Mechanochromism and optical remodeling of multi-network elastomers containing anthracene dimers. Chemical Science , The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019, 10 (36), pp.8367-8373. ⟨10.1039/c9sc02580d⟩. ⟨hal-02313106⟩

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