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Surface Chemical and Morphological Modifications to Silicone Elastomers for the Rational Control of Nucleation, Adhesion, and Thin Film Formation

Jay Matthew Taylor, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Advances in surface chemistry have led to the development of applications in many fields including catalysis, computer processing, medical devices, and energy storage. The surfaces involved in these applications have typically relied on using materials with static properties. The ability to design materials whose properties can be easily modified would enable the use of dynamic materials in these applications with properties and functions that could change when prompted by a stimulus. While many stimuli-responsive materials have been developed in recent years, few can rapidly switch their surface chemistry in response to a stimulus. Herein, chemically modified elastic silicones are designed so that their surface chemistry will change in response to mechanical stimulation. These surfaces are applied to problems in hard/soft material interactions namely, adhesion, assembly, and crystal formation. Silicones are versatile elastic polymers used in a variety of applications including, microfluidics, soft robotics, and soft lithography. Previous chemical modifications to these materials have left their surface brittle and prone to cracking that restrict the applicability of these derivatization strategies. In this work, previous limitations to these modifications were overcome and the resulting materials were applied to controlling interactions with ridged materials. Specifically, these modified silicone substrates were used to: (i) pattern the adherence of thermoplastic films, (ii) spatiotemporally control crystal nucleation, (iii) generate chemical gradients that influenced the formation crystalline material, (iv) pattern and manipulate inorganic thin films, and (v) reconfigure the properties of optical meta-surfaces. The results and discussions presented herein are relevant to the fields of heterogeneous crystal nucleation, stimuli-responsive materials, and silicone surface chemistry. These results also target applications in crystal engineering, directed assembly, mechano-optics, soft robotics, and microfluidics.

Subject Area

Materials science|Chemistry

Recommended Citation

Taylor, Jay Matthew, "Surface Chemical and Morphological Modifications to Silicone Elastomers for the Rational Control of Nucleation, Adhesion, and Thin Film Formation" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI27667404.