Ti3C2Tx MXene-Activated Fast Gelation of Stretchable and Self-Healing Hydrogels: A Molecular Approach

Gang Ge, Yi Zhou Zhang, Wenli Zhang, Wei Yuan, Jehad K. El Demellawi, Peng Zhang, Enzo M. Di Fabrizio, Xiaochen Dong, Husam N. Alshareef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MXene-based hydrogels, a flourishing family of soft materials, have recently emerged as promising candidates for stretchable electronics. Despite recent progress, most works use MXenes as conductive nanofillers. Herein, by tuning the molecular interactions between MXene nanosheets and other constituents within the hydrogels, we demonstrate Ti$_{3}$C$_{3}$T$_{$\textit{x}$}$ MXene can act as a versatile cross-linker to activate the fast gelation of a wide range of hydrogels, starting from various monomer- and polymer-based precursors. The gelation behavior varies significantly across hydrogels. In general, the fast gelation mechanism is attributed to the easier generation of free radicals with the help of Ti$_{3}$C$_{2}$T$_{$\textit{x}$}$ MXene and the presence of multiscale molecular interactions between MXene and polymers. The use of MXene as a dynamic cross-linker leads to superior mechanical properties, adhesion, and self-healing ability. Owing to the inherent photothermal behavior of Ti$_{3}$C$_{3}$T$_{$\textit{x}$}$ and the heterogeneous phase-transforming features of polymers, a polymer-MXene hydrogel is demonstrated to exhibit distinctive thermosensation-based actuation upon near-infrared illumination, accompanied by rapid shape transformation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Nano
StatePublished - Jan 20 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)

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