Transient materials from thermally-sensitive polycarbonates and polycarbonate nanocomposites

Camera, K. L., Wenning, B., Lal, A., & Ober, C. K.

Polymer 101 (2016): 59-66.

Transient materials, or materials with designed short lifetimes, are of great interest in many fields of research. This work describes the development of polycarbonates as a thermally-triggered vaporizable substrate platform. Good mechanical properties over operational temperature ranges in combination with fast and clean decomposition at slightly higher temperatures create an effective transient substrate. Therefore, characterization of the thermal and mechanical properties of vaporizable polycarbonates (VPC) and their composites are indispensable for creating such materials systems. A tailor-made VPC and its blends with a commercially available poly(propylene carbonate) were investigated. Both polycarbonates have acid sensitive backbones; therefore, when combined with an acid source, catalyzed decomposition was observed within minutes, achieving a range of decomposition temperatures between 160 °C and 250 °C. Polymer with organo-modified montmorillonite nanocomposites were investigated to provide structural support. These nanocomposites resulted in Young's moduli ranging from 4 MPa to ∼2 GPa. Their tunable nature allows for designer control over the substrate's properties based on application needs.


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