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Photoinduced Plasticity in Cross-Linked Polymers

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Science  10 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5728, pp. 1615-1617
DOI: 10.1126/science.1110505

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Abstract

Chemically cross-linked polymers are inherently limited by stresses that are introduced by post-gelation volume changes during polymerization. It is also difficult to change a cross-linked polymer's shape without a corresponding loss of material properties or substantial stress development. We demonstrate a cross-linked polymer that, upon exposure to light, exhibits stress and/or strain relaxation without any concomitant change in material properties. This result is achieved by introducing radicals via photocleavage of residual photoinitiator in the polymer matrix, which then diffuse via addition-fragmentation chain transfer of midchain functional groups. These processes lead to photoinduced plasticity, actuation, and equilibrium shape changes without residual stress. Such polymeric materials are critical to the development of microdevices, biomaterials, and polymeric coatings.

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