July 25, 2012

Gel Material with the Ability in Self-healing with Light

(July 25, 2012)  Summary:

Masaru Yoshida (Leader) and Takahiro Yamamoto (Researcher), Smart Materials Group, the Nanosystem Research Institute (Director: Kiyoshi Yase) of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; President: Tamotsu Nomakuchi), have developed a gel material (a composite gel of polymer particles and a liquid crystal) that can repair damage to itself by light irradiation. The developed gel material can repair a small scratch on it in a short time by controlling its sol and gel states using light on the basis of photoisomerization of a photoresponsive material in the gel. This scratch-repairing process can be repeated. In addition, when transition to the sol state occurs due to large shear strain, the material quickly returns to the gel state by removing the applied strain.

The technology that can control the sol-gel transition of a material using light is expected to be a fundamental materials technology. Use of such materials in coatings that can be repaired with light will increase the durability and lifetime of products and can thereby contribute to resource savings and reduction in environmental loads.

The results of this research will be published online in Langmuir, a scientific journal of the American Chemical Society, on May 24, 2012 (JST). They will also be presented at the 61st Annual Meeting of the Society of Polymer Science, Japan, held at Pacifico Yokohama, Yokohama, from May 29 to 31, 2012.