In the present work we show the effect of graphene loading on the restoration of the mechanical properties and thermal and electrical conductivity of a self-healing natural rubber nanocomposite. The graphene loading led to a minimal enhancement of mechanical properties and yielded a modest increase in thermal and electrical conduction. The polymer nanocomposites were macroscopically damaged (cut) and thermally healed for 7 h in a healing cell. Different healing trends as function of the graphene content were found for each of the functionalities: (i) thermal conductivity was fully restored independently of the graphene filler loading; (ii) electrical conductivity was only restored to a high degree above the percolation threshold; and (iii) tensile strength restoration increased more or less linearly with graphene content but was never complete. A dedicated molecular dynamics analysis by dielectric spectroscopy of the pristine and healed samples highlighted the role of graphene-polymer interactions at the healed interphase on the overall restoration of the different functionalities. Based on these results it is suggested that the dependence of the various healing efficiencies with graphene content is due to a combination of the graphene induced lower crosslinking density, as well as the presence of strong polymer-graphene interactions at the healed interphase.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • functional composites, self-healing, natural rubber, graphene, mechanical properties, electrical properties

ID: 35585377