A monolithic hydro/organo macro copolymer actuator synthesized via interfacial copolymerization

Feilong Zhang, Junbing Fan, Pengchao Zhang, Mingjie Liu, Jingxin Meng, Lei Jiang, Shutao Wang

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68 Citations (Scopus)


Synthetic polymer actuators have attracted increasing attention for their potential applications in artificial muscles, soft robotics and sensors. The majority of previous efforts have focused on smart hydrogels with bilayer structures that can change their shape in response to environmental stimuli, such as temperature, light and certain chemicals. However, the practical application of hydrogels is limited because of their low modulus and weak mechanical strength. Here we synthesized a robust monolithic actuator of a macro-scale hydro/organo binary cooperative Janus copolymer film. The process involves direct, one-step interfacial polymerization of immiscible hydrophilic and hydrophobic vinyl monomer solutions, and the resultant product exhibited binary cooperative shape transformation to multiple external stimuli. The Janus copolymer film can work in both aqueous solutions and organic solvents, with bidirectional and site-specific bending arising from cooperative asymmetric swelling/shrinking of the hydrogel and organogel networks. In addition, the as-prepared Janus copolymer film can act as a sensor element for solvent leakage detection. This binary cooperative strategy is applicable to most immiscible monomer systems and provides a general approach to developing novel functional copolymer materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere380
Number of pages8
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2017
Externally publishedYes

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