Training and self-healing by interface snapping mechanisms
For artificial materials systems, self-healing is the Holy Grail in order to allow them to cope with damage. Concepts for self-healing are omnipresent in nature, for example the healing of bone fractures. Only recently, the implementation of such processes into technical systems came into reach through the development of combinations of novel polymers and mechanical metamaterials. In the same way as when curing a bone fracture, the parts of the damaged site need to come into close contact. This self-sealing is the basis for the permanent closure of freshly opened interfaces, such as those that emerge during crack formation, or when joining modular components. The latter will be especially important during device manufacturing in livMatS.
To link materials across an interface, varying mechanisms will be employed. They will range from simple click mechanisms, where two components mechanically interlock, to complex, self-aligning locking mechanisms. Finally, permanently ‘glued’ connectors are envisioned. Specific mechanical designs will allow newly formed interfaces to transfer mechanical strain fields in ways that allow the propagation of information within living materials systems. Connectors will for example be composed of novel polymers that were developed for 2-photon lithography processes. Furthermore, C,H-insertion crosslinking and 3D printing will be crucial techniques.