> The Innovation

Plastics (polymeric materials) are part of our daily life and have found their way in a wide variety of applications, ranging from waste bags to plastics for electronics and medical care. Important in all these applications is the interplay between the intrinsic processability and the material properties of the polymeric material. Unfortunately, these two parameters are usually conflicting. SupraPolix offers a new concept in the world of plastics by separating the processability demands

from the material demands: incorporation of already a small amount of our product SupraB™ in existing plastics makes it possible to use polymers of much lower molecular weights, resulting in favorable processing when desired. As a result, full exploitation of all the material properties of existing plastics is possible, deepening their use in many large-scale applications that will benefit from ease of processing, advanced dynamical behavior or self-healing properties.

SELF-HEALING

Dynamic elastomeric SupraB-materials with self-healing benefits: freshly cut surfaces display adhesive strength resulting in instantaneously self-bonding.

COATINGS

Rejuvenation of damaged coatings using the SupraB-technology: high flow at high temperatured restores damaged coatings within seconds.

HYDROGEL

Elastic hydrogels: just water held together by the strong SupraB hydrogen bonds, not only strong but also thermo-reversible.

> SupraMolecular Polymers

The essential ingredient of our technology platform is the use of supramolecular interactions (‘interactions beyond the molecule’) to increase the virtual molecular weight of polymers. This is achieved with our proprietary SupraB hydrogen bonding approach. Functionalization of polymers with these SupraB hydrogen bonding units leads to very strong interactions between the (short) polymer chains, thereby increasing their apparent molecular weight and consequently improving their material properties. However, due to the sensitivity of hydrogen bonding to temperature and concentration, heating or dilution will lead to a dramatic drop in binding strength. As a result, the (cross-linking) interactions between the

polymers weaken and the apparent molecular weight of the polymers is much lower resulting in a low viscous, tractable material, resulting in the following clear advantages:

  • polymer processing becomes possible at lower temperatures or higher speed
  • functional polymeric materials can be switched on/off using external triggers like heat
  • bonding takes place without the need for a chemical reactive formulation
  • specific rheological profiless leading to unique dynamical properties like self-healing behavior

 

> Self-healing polymers

Self-healing polymeric materials are beginning to reach the market in which the use of reversible non-covalent interactions is a recurring design principle. SupraPolix uses its SupraB-approach to take this design principle to its extreme. The resulting supramolecular polymers, where hydrogen bonds are responsible for the interactions between the polymer chains, form materials that self-heal after a shot heating cycle, or even more particular, can repair themselves after damage by just

reassembling the broken polymeric parts together. In both cases, the proprietary hydrogen bonding system takes care of the autonomous healing without the need for the inclusion of chemicals, catalysts, or plasticizers. Furthermore, the self-healing cycle can be repeated over and over again as no material is consumed. Therefore, these materials are eminently suitable for their use in self healing applications, ranging from adhesives, coatings, and elastomeric materials.

 

> Selected technical papers for further reading

Self-Healing Supramolecular Polymers In Action
G. M. L. van Gemert, J. W. Peeters, S. H. M. Söntjens, H. M. Janssen, A. W. Bosman, Macromol. Chem. Phys. (2012), 213, 234-242.

Materials Science: Supramolecular Polymers
T. F. A. de Greef, E. W. Meijer, Nature (2008), 453, 171-173.

Supramolecular Polymer Materials: Chain Extension of Telechelic Polymers using a Reactive Hydrogen-bonding Synthon
B. J. B. Folmer, R. P. Sijbesma, R. M. Versteegen, J. A. J. van der Rijt, E. W. Meijer, Adv. Mater. (2000), 12, 874-878.

Reversible Polymers formed from Self-complementary Monomers using Quadruple Hydrogen bonding 
R. P. Sijbesma, F. H. Beijer, L. Brunsveld, B. J. B. Folmer, J,. H. K. K. Hirschberg, R. F.Lange, J. K. L. Lowe, E. W. Meijer, Science (1997), 278, 1601-1604.

Supramolecular Polymers at work
A.W. Bosman, R. P. Sijbesma, E. W. Meijer, Mat. Today (2004), 34-39.

Supramolecular Polymers
L. Brunsveld, B. J. B. Folmer, E. W. Meijer, R. P. Sijbesma, Chem. Rev. (2001), 101, 4071-4098.

Hierarchical Formation of Supramolecular Transient Networks in Water: A Modular Injectable Delivery System
P. Y. W. Dankers, T. M. Hermans, T. W. Baughman, Y. Kamikawa, R. E. Kieltyka, M. M. C. Bastings, H. M. Janssen, N. A. J. M. Sommerdijk, A. Larsen, M. A. J. van Luyn, A. W. Bosman, E. R. Popa, G. Fytas, E. W. Meijer, Adv. Mater. (2012), 24, 2703-2709.