New Paper: Composite Polymeric Membranes with Directionally Embedded Fibers for Controlled Dual Actuation
Composite Polymeric Membranes with Directionally Embedded Fibers for Controlled Dual Actuation
L. Liu, H. Bakhshi, S. Jiang, H. Schmalz, S. Agarwal
Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2018, 1800082
In this paper, preparation method and actuation properties of an innovative composite membrane composed of thermo‐ and pH‐responsive poly(N‐isopropylacrylamide‐co‐acrylic acid) fibers (average diameter ≈ 905 nm) embedded within a passive thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) matrix at different angles with degree of alignment as high as 98% are presented. The composite membrane has a gradient of TPU along the thickness. It has the capability of temperature‐ and pH‐dependent direction‐, and size‐controlled actuation in few minutes. The stresses generated at the responsive fiber and nonresponsive matrix provide actuation, whereas the angle at which fibers are embedded in the matrix controls the actuation direction and size. The temperature has no effect on actuation and actuated forms at pH 7 and above, whereas the size of the actuated forms can be controlled by the temperature at lower pH. The membranes are strong enough to reversibly lift and release ≈426 times weight of their own mass (2.47 g metal ring is lifted by a 5.8 mg membrane). Soft actuators are of interest as smart scaffolds, robotics, catalysis, drug release, energy storage, electrodes, and metamaterials.