The self-healing property of a hydrogel applied to a glass substrate as a thin polymer coating was assessed. The motivation was to develop a durable hydrogel coating that may be used to protect the surface of precision components from surface damage and scratches. The intrinsic swelling behavior of hydrogel fibers when they are exposed to moisture was exploited to attain the self-healing effect. The mechanical and self-healing properties of the dehydrated hydrogel coating by the freeze-drying process and the hydrated hydrogel coating that was reconstituted by the addition of water were analyzed. After conducting sliding tests with different loads and sliding distances, the wear area was hydrated with water to successfully induce self-healing of the hydrogel coating. It was also found that both the dehydrated hydrogel coating and the hydrated hydrogel coating had improved friction characteristics. In particular, the hydrated hydrogel coating had a much higher durability than the dehydrated coating.
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