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Open AccessArticle

Smart Thermomechanochemical Composite Materials Driven by Different Forms of Electromagnetic Radiation

Research Institute for Energy Technologies and Advanced Materials (IITEMA), National University of Río Cuarto (UNRC)-National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Ruta Nacional N° 36, Km 601, Río Cuarto (Córdoba) 5800, Argentina
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J. Compos. Sci. 2020, 4(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs4010003
Received: 14 November 2019 / Revised: 12 December 2019 / Accepted: 20 December 2019 / Published: 1 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Conductive Polymer Composites)
Photo-thermo-mechanochemical (P-T-MCh) nanocomposites provide a mechanical and/or chemical output (MCh) in response to a photonic (P) input, with the thermal (T) flux being the coupling factor. The nanocomposite combines a photon absorbing nanomaterial with a thermosensitive hydrogel matrix. Conjugated (absorbing in the near infrared (NIR, 750–850 nm) wavelength range) polymer (polyaniline, PANI) nanostructures are dispersed in cross-linked thermosensitive (poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), PNIPAM) hydrogel matrices, giving the nanocomposite P-T-MCh properties. Since PANI is a conductive polymer, electromagnetic radiation (ER) such as radiofrequency (30 kHz) and microwaves (2.4 GHz) could also be used as an input. The alternating electromagnetic field creates eddy currents in the PANI, which produces heat through the Joule effect. A new kind of “product” nanocomposite is then produced, where ER drives the mechanochemical properties of the material through thermal coupling (electromagnetic radiation thermomechanochemical, ER-T-MCh). Both optical absorption and conductivity of PANI depend on its oxidation and protonation state. Therefore, the ER-T-MCh materials are able to react to the surroundings properties (pH, redox potential) becoming a smart (electromagnetic radiation thermomechanochemical) (sER-T-MCh) material. The volume changes of the sER-T-MCh materials are reversible since the size and shape is recovered by cooling. No noticeable damage was observed after several cycles. The mechanical properties of the composite materials can be set by changing the hydrogel matrix. Four methods of material fabrication are described. View Full-Text
Keywords: electromagnetic radiation; smart materials; product composites; thermosensitive hydrogel; conducting polymer electromagnetic radiation; smart materials; product composites; thermosensitive hydrogel; conducting polymer
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Riberi, K.; Bongiovanni Abel, S.; Martinez, M.V.; Molina, M.A.; Rivarola, C.R.; Acevedo, D.F.; Rivero, R.; Cuello, E.A.; Gramaglia, R.; Barbero, C.A. Smart Thermomechanochemical Composite Materials Driven by Different Forms of Electromagnetic Radiation. J. Compos. Sci. 2020, 4, 3.

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