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Proceedings Paper

Synthesis of a photostrictive azobenzene polymer thread
Author(s): Meghan Martin; Alex Nicotra; Zachary Hollins; Sarah Kapelner; Jimmy Franco; John A. Gallagher
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Paper Abstract

Photostrictive polymers are a shape memory material that actuates between two mechanical states due to application of different wavelengths of light. Photostrictive materials often exhibit large strains during this process. In this work a novel photostrictive polymer was synthesized using a similar procedure to the synthesis of nylon threads. A monomer containing azobenzene, a photoreactive switch, was synthesized. The novel monomer was polymerized into a material with similar properties to that of nylon where the photoswitch replaces some of the alkyl units created by the adipoyl chloride monomer. This creates a new photostrictive thread alternative to flat sheets for artificial muscle applications. Additionally, the photoactive monomer and the original nylon monomer, adipoyl chloride, were used concurrently to produce a copolymer with varying degrees of the photoactive unit. Utilizing a copolymer methodology allows the innovative thread-like material to be tunable, by varying the amount of photoactive units embedded into the polymer strand. Ratios of the photoswitch unit to adipoyl chloride of 1:5, 1:10, 1:25, and 1:50 were synthesized. The synthesized polymer strands were dissolved in formic acid so that the incorporation of the photoactive units could be measured using Ultra Violet –Visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy. The absorbance at varying wavelengths was determined and compared to the base polymer, nylon. All azobenzene samples exhibited a direct correlation to an absorption band at 345 nm and the concentration of the photoswitch unit.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 March 2019
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10968, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials XIII, 1096803 (29 March 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2514288
Show Author Affiliations
Meghan Martin, Merrimack College (United States)
Alex Nicotra, Merrimack College (United States)
Zachary Hollins, Merrimack College (United States)
Sarah Kapelner, Merrimack College (United States)
Jimmy Franco, Merrimack College (United States)
John A. Gallagher, Merrimack College (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10968:
Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials XIII
Hani E. Naguib, Editor(s)

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