Self-restoring polymer brushes under tribological stress and the biomedical applications

Troels Røn, Irakli Javakhishvili, Søren Hvilsted, Katja Jankova, Seunghwan Lee

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For biological and mechanical systems involving moving parts, surface slipperiness is often a critical attribute for their optimal functions. Surface grafting with hydrophilic polymers is a powerful means to render materials slippery in aqueous environment. In “inverted grafting-to approach”, the hydrophilic polymer chains of amphiphilic diblock copolymers dispersed within a poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) network are selectively segregated upon exposure to aqueous solution. This allows formation of extremely stable brush-like polymer layers. Tribological application of inverted grafting-to approach was successfully demonstrated with PDMS-block-poly(acrylic acid) (PDMS-b-PAA) dispersed within thin PDMS films on PDMS blocks by showing friction coefficients (µ) of ca 10-2 to 10-3, depending on the load, pH and buffer salinity in the absence of other external re-supply of PAA chains. Further manipulations of the thin PDMS film incorporating PDMS-b-PAA to optimize the tribological properties are presented. Lastly, first trials to employ PAA-grafted PDMS surface to generate in-vitro mucosae model are also presented and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMRS Advances
Issue number27
Pages (from-to)1971-1976
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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