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A Sustainable Multi-Dimensional Printable Material...

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Advanced Sustainable Systems
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Polymeric materials are usually tailored for specific functionality. A single polymer exhibiting multiple simultaneous functionalities often requires intricate molecular architecture, which is difficult to manufacture at scale because of its complex synthesis routes. Herein, a facile, partly renewable composition―prepared via reactive melt processing―that induces tunable functionalities such as 3D printability, shape recovery, and self-healing while exhibiting satisfactory mechanical properties is reported. The system with a hydrogen-bonded 3D network consists of thermally reversible nano-scale agglomerates of sustainable, rigid phenolic oligomers and crystallizable flexible polymer. Local molecular mobility and temperature-dependent relaxation and recovery of the non-equilibrium networked states enable exploiting these simultaneous functionalities. Transitions involving solidification and structure stabilization at ambient temperature spanning several hours after preheating only at 70 °C directly contrast typical thermoplastic or thermoplastic elastomer behaviors. Results from this study can inform the design of future rheology modifiers and materials for soft robotics.