From Scratch Closure to Electrolyte Barrier Restoration in Self-Healing Polyurethane Coatings

Vincenzo Montano, Wouter Vogel, Angela Smits, Sybrand Van Der Zwaag, Santiago J. Garcia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


The effects of the soft block fraction and H-bond state in thermoplastic polyurethanes on autonomous entropy-driven scratch closure and barrier restoration are studied. To this aim, comparable polyurethanes with different segmentation states are applied as organic coatings on plain carbon steel plates, scratched under very well-controlled conditions, and the scratch closure and sealing kinetics are studied in detail. The scratch closure is measured optically, while the barrier restoration is probed by the accelerated cyclic electrochemical technique (ACET). Scratch closure, attributed to entropic elastic recovery (EER), is followed in a marked two-step process by barrier restoration governed by local viscous flow and the state of the interfacial hydrogen bonding. Polyurethanes with a lower soft phase fraction lead to a higher urea/urethane ratio, which in turn influences the healing efficiency of each healing step. Interestingly, softer polyurethanes leading to efficient crack closure were unable to sufficiently restore barrier properties. The present work highlights the critical role of the soft/hard block and urea/urethane H-bond state content on crack closure and barrier restoration of anticorrosive organic coatings and points at design rules for the design of more efficient corrosion-protective self-healing polyurethanes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2802-2812
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • ACET
  • polymer architecture
  • polyurethane
  • self-healing coating
  • self-healing polymer
  • urea


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