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Keywords:

  • colloids;
  • gels;
  • multilayers;
  • polymers;
  • self-healing
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Soft yet strong: Colloidal hydrogel films, which are constructed using a layer-by-layer polyelectrolyte approach, are easily damaged by mechanical disruption, but can also autonomically heal (see picture). The healing event occurs within seconds once the film has been resolvated. The lability of the coulombic interactions between hydrogel particle and linear polymer plays a direct role in its ability to self-heal.