Learning from nature: synthesis and characterization of longitudinal polymer gradient materials inspired by mussel byssus threads.

Research paper by Kai U KU Claussen, Reiner R Giesa, Thomas T Scheibel, Hans-Werner HW Schmidt

Indexed on: 21 Dec '11Published on: 21 Dec '11Published in: Macromolecular Rapid Communications


Marine mussels use their threads for attachment to any substratum and these biopolymer gradient fibers show an excellent combination of stiff and soft mechanical properties. A straightforward approach for the preparation of macroscopic longitudinal polymer gradient materials on the centimeter scale based on a poly(dimethyl siloxane) system is presented. Compositional gradients are realized by using three syringe pumps feeding different prepolymers capable to undergo thermal cross-linking. Within the gradient samples, the stiffness between the hard and soft part can be varied up to a factor of four. The gradients are analyzed by UV-Vis spectroscopy as well as compressive and tensile modulus testing.