Fabrication and characterization of shape memory polymers at small scales
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The objective of this research is to thoroughly investigate the shape memory effect in polymers, characterize, and optimize these polymers for applications in information storage systems. Previous research effort in this field concentrated on shape memory metals for biomedical applications such as stents. Minimal work has been done on shape memory poly- mers; and the available work on shape memory polymers has not characterized the behaviors of this category of polymers fully. Copolymer shape memory materials based on diethylene glycol dimethacrylate (DEGDMA) crosslinker, and tert butyl acrylate (tBA) monomer are designed. The design encompasses a careful control of the backbone chemistry of the materials. Characterization methods such as dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC); and novel nanoscale techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), and nanoindentation are applied to this system of materials. Designed experiments are conducted on the materials to optimize spin coating conditions for thin films. Furthermore, the recovery, a key for the use of these polymeric materials for information storage, is examined in detail with respect to temperature. In sum, the overarching objectives of the proposed research are to: (i) design shape memory polymers based on polyethylene glycol dimethacrylate (PEGDMA) and diethylene glycol dimethacrylate (DEGDMA) crosslinkers, 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and tert-butyl acrylate monomer (tBA). (ii) utilize dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) to comprehend the thermomechanical properties of shape memory polymers based on DEGDMA and tBA. (iii) utilize nanoindentation and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to understand the nanoscale behavior of these SMPs, and explore the strain storage and recovery of the polymers from a deformed state. (iv) study spin coating conditions on thin film quality with designed experiments. (iv) apply neural networks and genetic algorithms to optimize these systems.