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Water Soluble Responsive Polymer Brushes

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Author(s): Michael P. Weir | Andrew J. Parnell

Journal: Polymers
ISSN 2073-4360

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 2107;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: polymer brush | polyelectrolyte | responsive | smart surfaces

ABSTRACT
Responsive polymer brushes possess many interesting properties that enable them to control a range of important interfacial behaviours, including adhesion, wettability, surface adsorption, friction, flow and motility. The ability to design a macromolecular response to a wide variety of external stimuli makes polymer brushes an exciting class of functional materials, and has been made possible by advances in modern controlled polymerization techniques. In this review we discuss the physics of polymer brush response along with a summary of the techniques used in their synthesis. We then review the various stimuli that can be used to switch brush conformation; temperature, solvent quality, pH and ionic strength as well as the relatively new area of electric field actuation We discuss examples of devices that utilise brush conformational change, before highlighting other potential applications of responsive brushes in real world devices.
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