Stimuli-Responsive Polymer-Based Actuators and Sensors

  • Author / Creator
    Li, Xue
  • This work covers the general scope of stimuli-responsive polymers, with the special focus on the thermoresponsive poly (N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAm)-based hydrogels and particles (microgels) and their composites, humidity responsive polyelectrolyte-based bilayer devices, and their applications as artificial muscles, sensors and actuators. In Chapters 3-5, a novel humidity responsive bilayer device was generated by combining poly (N-isopropylacrylamide)-co-acrylic acid (pNIPAm-co-AAc) microgel-based and polyelectrolytes. The two layers were used together as a glue to adhere them to a plastic substrate, which allowed them to lift weights (Chapter 3). The self-folding behavior of the bilayer devices was studied and mathematical models were built up to explain the behavior. The results showed that the model can describe the experimental data well. Accordingly, multiple 3D structures were obtained from the precisely designed 2D planar bilayer sheets (Chapter 4). Subsequently, the shape memory effect (SME) of the bilayer system was studied (in Chapter 5). The semi-crystallization of the polymer in the polyelectrolyte layer enables the SME of the device. Furthermore, the ‘templated device’ was obtained in order to assemble it with a strain sensor, which could serve as humidity sensors. In the second part of the thesis, we describe the development of a semi-interpenetrated (semi-IPN) hydrogel-based bilayer actuator (Chapter 6). The polyelectrolyte is physically trapped in the chemically crosslinked pNIPAm-based hydrogel network, which endows the bilayer with bi-directional deformations in response to pH and temperature in aqueous solution. Furthermore, they are specially designed to function as manipulators (or grippers) and small molecule release devices. In the last part, Chapter 7 describes the synthesis of the N, N’- bis(acryloyl)cystamine (BAC) crosslinked pNIPAm microgels, where the crosslinking density can be altered by exposure to reducing reagents. 1D photonic crystals (etalons) are fabricated from these microgels, which show an approximately linear response to one reducing reagent dithiothreitol (DTT).

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Putkaradze, Vakhtang ( Department of Mathematical and Statistical Science)
    • McDermott, Mark (Department of Chemistry)
    • Oh, John (Concordia University)
    • Campbell, Robert E. (Department of Chemistry)
    • Serpe, Michael J. (Department of Chemistry)