DFG Walter Benjamin Program

Malleability of Cross-Linked Polymers - Vitrimers: A New Class of Polymer Matrices

Within the framework of a DFG-funded Walter Benjamin-Fellowship, this project focuses on the investigation of a new class of polymers called vitrimers. These materials combine the malleable character of thermoplastics with the extraordinary mechanical performances of highly cross-linked thermosets. The huge advantage of vitrimers is that they can be repaired, reshaped or even recycled, even though they are cross-linked, i.e. their molecular state being far beyond a structural percolation threshold. This is due to the presence of switchable molecular bonds. Hence, vitrimers are not only sustainable, but also enable new perspectives in processing technologies, e.g. through repeated forming processes, as well as opportunities to enhance thr lifetime and durability ol polymerapplications in service.

However, fully exploiting the special vitrimer properties currently lacks a better understanding of the underlying physical and physico-chemical mechanisms. This is especially important in the case of vitrimer-based composite materials, where additional physical and chemical interactions come into play, e.g. between fibers and a vitrimer matrix.

Therefore, the main objective of the project is to gain a better understanding of the basic property mechanisms of vitrimers in order to further pave their way as sustainable polymer and polymer composte solutions.


Andreas Klingler

DFG Walter Benjamin-Program