Copolymer Networks From Oligo(Epsilon-caprolactone) and n-Butyl Acrylate Enable a Reversible Bidirectional Shape-Memory Effect at Human Body Temperature


Exploiting the tremendous potential of the recently discovered reversible bidirectional shape-memory effect (rbSME) for biomedical applications requires switching temperatures in the physiological range. The recent strategy is based on the reduction of the melting temperature range (ΔT m) of the actuating oligo(ε-caprolactone) (OCL) domains in copolymer networks from OCL and n-butyl acrylate (BA), where the reversible effect can be adjusted to the human body temperature. In addition, it is investigated whether an rbSME in the temperature range close or even above Tm,offset (end of the melting transition) can be obtained. Two series of networks having mixtures of OCLs reveal broad ΔTms from 2 °C to 50 °C and from −10 °C to 37 °C, respectively. In cyclic, thermomechanical experiments the rbSME can be tailored to display pronounced actuation in a temperature interval between 20 °C and 37 °C. In this way, the application spectrum of the rbSME can be extended to biomedical applications.
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