Poly-dimethyl-siloxane based responsive structures
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This thesis focuses on the design, fabrication and characterization of polymeric smart structures that are able to alter their geometry and thus their properties upon the application of external stimuli in a reversible and controllable manner. Two different responsive structures are studied that both contain poly dimethyl-siloxane (PDMS) and differ in the design, geometry, and actuation mechanism. The first structure is a surface decorated by a square array of posts (cilia) made of PDMS reinforced with magnetic particles and is actuated magnetically. The structures are meant to mimic cilia, a hair-like structure found in nature. The physical parameters necessary for the magnetic response of the cilia including physical dimensions and filler concentration are investigated. In addition, the elastic modulus of the composites is measured and the microstructure is examined in order to determine the dispersion and homogeneity of the composites. The second structure is a planar hetero-structure consisting of a PDMS substrate and a nanoporous (NP) metal foam film which is actuated thermally or chemically by tuning the generation and release of residual stresses at the NP metal foam/PDMS interface. The effect of strain, applied to the PDMS substrate prior to the deposition of the NP metal foam and the effect of the PDMS and NP metal foam thicknesses on the shape/size of the planer hetero-structure after the actuation is investigated.