Synthesis and characterization of shape memory poly (epsilon-caprolactone) polyurethane-ureas
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A series of segmented poly (epsilon-caprolactone) polyurethane-ureas (PCLUUs) were prepared from poly (epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) diol, different dissociates and chain extenders to improve the recovery stress of shape memory polymers. NMR and FT-IR were used to identify the structure of the synthesized shape memory polyurethane-ureas. Parameters such as soft segment content (molecular weight and content), chain extender and the rigidity of the main chain were investigated to understand the structure-property relationships of the shape memory polymer systems through DSC, DMA, physical property test, etc. Cyclic thermal mechanic tests were applied to measure the shape memory properties which showed that the recovery stress can be improved above 200% simply by modifying the chain extender. Meanwhile, the synthesis process was optimized to be similar to that of Spandex /LYCRA®. Continuous fibers were made from a wet spinning process, which indicated excellent spinnability of the polymer solution. Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) was used to study the morphology of the hard segment at different temperatures and stretch rates and found that the monodisperse rigid cylinder model fit the SANS data quite well. From the cylinder model, the radius of the cylinder increases with the increasing hard segment content. The SANS results revealed phase separation of hard and soft segments into nano scale domains.