This study demonstrates an easy way to change surface characteristics, the water contact angle on styrene based shape memory polymer (SMP) surface alters before and after cracking formation and recovery. The contact angle of water on the original SMP surface is about 85 degree, after coating with Al and then kneading from side face at glass transition temperature Tg, cracking appeared both on Al film and SMP; cooling down and removing the Al film, cracks remain on SMP surface while the contact angle reduced to about 25 degree. When reheated above Tg, the cracks disappeared, and the contact angle go back to about 85 degree. The thin Al film bonded on SMP surface was coated by spurting, that constrains the deformation of SMP. Heating above Tg, there are complex interactions between soft SMP and hard metal film under kneading. The thin metal film cracked first with the considerable deformation of soft polymer, whereafter, the polymer was ripped by the metal cracks thus polymer cracked as well. Cracks on SMP can be fixed cooling down Tg, while reheated, cracks shrinking and the SMP recovers to its original smooth surface. Surface topography changed dramatically while chemical composition showed no change during the deformation and recovery cycle, as presented by SEM and EDS. Furthermore, the wetting cycle is repeatable. This facile method can be easily extended to the hydropobicity/hydrophilicity modification of other stimuli-responsive polymers and put forward many potential applications, such as microfluidic switching and molecule capture and release.
We propose and demonstrate a technique for monitoring the recovery deformation of the shape-memory polymers (SMP) using a surface-attached fiber Bragg grating (FBG) as a vector-bending sensor. The proposed sensing scheme could monitor the pure bending deformation for the SMP sample. When the SMP sample undergoes concave or convex bending, the resonance wavelength of the FBG will have red-shift or blue-shift according to the tensile or compressive stress gradient along the FBG. As the results show, the bending sensitivity is around 4.07 nm/cm −1 . The experimental results clearly indicate that the deformation of such an SMP sample can be effectively monitored by the attached FBG not just for the bending curvature but also the bending direction.