Dynamic Polymer Systems with Self-regulated Secretion for the Control of Surface Propertiesand Material Healing
Harvard University CAmbridge United States
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Approaches for regulated fluid secretion, which typically relyon fluid encapsulation and release from a shelled compartment,do not usually allow a fine continuous modulationof secretion, and can be dicult to adapt for monitoringor function-integration purposes15. Here, we report selfregulated,self-reporting secretion systems consisting ofliquid-storage compartments in a supramolecular polymer-gelmatrix with a thin liquid layer on top, and demonstrate thatdynamic liquid exchange between the compartments, matrixand surface layer allows repeated, responsive self-lubricationof the surface and cooperative healing of the matrix. Depletionof the surface liquid or local material damage induces secretionof the stored liquid via a dynamic feedback between polymercrosslinking, droplet shrinkage and liquid transport that can beread out through changes in the systems optical transparency.We foresee diverse applications in fluid delivery, wetting andadhesion control, and material self-repair.