Date: August 1998
Creator: Chen, Yuanye
Description: This dissertation studies physical properties and technological applications of engineered heterogenous polymer gels. Such gels are synthesized based on modulation of gel chemical nature in space. The shape memory gels have been developed in this study by using the modulated gel technology. At room temperature, they form a straight line. As the temperature is increased, they spontaneously bend or curl into a predetermined shape such as a letter of the alphabet, a numerical number, a spiral, a square, or a fish. The shape changes are reversible. The heterogenous structures have been also obtained on the gel surface. The central idea is to cover a dehydrated gel surface with a patterned mask, then to sputter-deposit a gold film onto it. After removing the mask, a gold pattern is left on the gel surface. Periodical surface array can serve as gratings to diffract light. The grating constant can be continuously changed by the external environmental stimuli such as temperature and electric field. Several applications of gels with periodic surface arrays as sensors for measuring gel swelling ratio, internal strain under an uniaxial stress, and shear modulus have been demonstrated. The porous NIPA gels have been synthesized by suspension technique. Microstructures of newly ...
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