Flexible inorganic-organic hybrids with dual inorganic components

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Combining multiple inorganic components is an effective approach to improve the mechanical properties of inorganic–organic hybrid materials. The inorganic components can form interactions with the organic polymer matrix, and there is thus a need to understand the reinforcement mechanism under the optimal combination of organic polymer and inorganic particles. In this work, we prepared a series of dual inorganic particle–based titania/silica–poly(tetrahydrofuran)–poly(ε-caprolactone) (TiO2/SiO2–PTHF–PCL) hybrids by means of simultaneous cationic ring-opening polymerization and sol–gel reaction. In addition to constructing hybrid networks, the SiO2 and TiO2 components play important roles in multiple toughening mechanisms. The prepared dual inorganic hybrids feature enhanced thermal stability and mechanical properties when compared with the ones with a single inorganic component. The optimized mixing of such two inorganic components is identified through mechanical tests, revealing that the hybrid polymer70/(Si0.6Ti0.4)30 (70/18/12 mass ratio) has the highest compressive failure strain (80%) and compressive ultimate strength (1.3 MPa) as well as storage modulus (120 kPa), enabling elongation of up to 37% when compared with its original length. We thus find that the dual inorganic component approach is an effective strategy to enhance the mechanical properties of hybrid materials, suggesting potential applications as scaffolds for tissue engineering and soft robotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100584
JournalMaterials Today Chemistry
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Hybrid materials
  • Interpenetrating networks
  • Mechanical properties
  • Structure–property relations


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