TechPortal: Tenants

x-GK Materials

GK Materials is commercializing a biomimetic approach to new dynamic self-healing nanocomposite materials that can spontaneously repair themselves after mechanical damage. The modular synthesis from off-the-shelf components and programmable emergent multifunctionality inherent to the design makes GK's system highly promising for the development of commercial self-healing materials with dramatically improved safety, lifetime, energy efficiency, and environmental impact, for a wide range of applications, including aerospace.

Background
The ability to spontaneously heal injury is a key biomaterial feature that increases the survivability and lifetime of most plants and animals. In sharp contrast, synthetic materials usually fail after damage or fracture. In pursuit of self-healing synthetic materials, research groups have employed additive, healing agent, and external triggering strategies, each resulting in price/performance compromises that prevent commercial viability.

Technology Description
In our new dynamic nanocomposite self-healing material design, we program extensive dynamic supramolecular connections (hydrogen bonds) into the soft phase of a hard-soft nanocomposite microstructure. In contrast to conventional nanocomposites, in which static connectivity in the soft matrix prevents self-healing after damage, the dynamic polyvalent hydrogen bonds in our design can rupture and re-form quantitatively after damage without healing agents or external stimuli, affording spontaneous, multi-cycle self-healing properties. Crucially, superior nanocomposite mechanical properties (stiffness AND toughness) are combined with dynamic self-healing properties of robust H-bonding networks.