In this article we describe the preparation and characterization of a functionally graded shape memory polymer (SMP) that, unlike conventional SMPs, has a range of transition temperatures that are spatially distributed in a gradient fashion within one single article. This is achieved by post-curing a pre-cured glassy SMP in a linear temperature gradient that imposes different vitrification temperature limits at different positions along the gradient. Utilizing indentation-based surface shape memory coupled with optical measurements of photoelastic response, the capability of this material to respond over a wide range of thermal triggers is examined and correlated with the graded glass transition behavior. The shape recovery response of the gradient SMP under a condition of continuous heating is demonstrated. This new class of SMP offers great potential for such applications as passive temperature sensing and precise control of shape evolution during a thermally triggered shape recovery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics