The aim of MUSHE is to develop, for the first time, Natural Rubber compounds with self healing properties, following the intrinsic self healing approach based on reversible bonding and by the inclusion of conductive nanoparticles. In this sense, both mechanical and electrical functionalities can be restored. Special attention will be paid to the overall molecular dynamics of these materials, which can be monitored due to the nanosized conductive fillers. It is believed that a systematic research on the relaxation behavior of these elastomers will help to elucidate the role of the key healing parameters (healing time and temperature). The new insight into the role of both the network structure and the cross-linking system by means of dielectric processes will be useful in controlling self healing properties of all elastomeric self healing systems to be developed in the future. The approach proposed in MUSHE is expected to result in new elastomeric products across a broad cross section of industries including transport and electronics within a period of 10 years. The concept of the current proposal exceeds the intentions of current research projects on self-healing elastomers in its ambition to restore two (rather than one) functionalities as well as to monitor in-situ the healing process at a scale close to the relevant molecular processes. The complementary expertise of the Applicant and the Host institute provide an optimal combination to reach the goals set in this proposal.
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