A dynamic linear polymer was formed by the [2π+2π] reversible cycloaddition reaction of a thymine-based monomer under topochemical conditions and was used in self-healing applications. The reversible polymerisation of the thymine monomer was confirmed by UV and GPC analysis. Irradiation at 302 nm resulted in polymerisation of the monomer, and irradiation with wavelengths lower than 240 nm resulted in depolymerisation and the production of oligomeric units. This leads to a reduction in the glass transition temperature, and promoted healing of surface scratches due to the increased chain mobility. The self-healing ability of scratched samples was assessed based on the visual disappearance of the damage. In addition, the mechanical properties of the polymer before and after healing were found to be similar.
- cycloaddition reactions
- reversible polymerisation