Chemically fueled covalent crosslinking of polymer materials

Borui Zhang, Isuru M. Jayalath, Jun Ke, Jessica L. Sparks, C. Scott Hartley,* and Dominik Konkolewicz*
Chem. Commun. 2019, 55, 2086–2089
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Transiently crosslinked dynamic polymer networks are developed, using carbodiimide hydration to link carboxylic acids as anhydrides. From aqueous polymer solutions, non-equilibrium hydrogels are transiently formed, which dissolve upon anhydride hydrolysis. The materials can be refueled using a subsequent injection of carbodiimide. The gels exhibit higher storage moduli compared to transient supramolecular gels as a result of their covalent crosslinks.