Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 59652
Synthesis of Smart Materials Based on Polyaniline Coated Fibers

Authors: Mihaela Beregoi, Horia Iovu, Cristina Busuioc, Alexandru Evanghelidis, Elena Matei, Monica Enculescu, Ionut Enculescu

Abstract:

Nanomaterials field is very attractive for all researchers who are attempting to develop new devices with the same or improved properties than the micro-sized ones, while reducing the reagents and power consumptions. In this way, a wide range of nanomaterials were fabricated and integrated in applications for electronics, optoelectronics, solar cells, tissue reconstruction and drug delivery. Obviously, the most appealing ones are those dedicated to the medical domain. Different types of nano-sized materials, such as particles, fibers, films etc., can be synthesized by using physical, chemical or electrochemical methods. One of these techniques is electrospinning, which enable the production of fibers with nanometric dimensions by pumping a polymeric solution in a high electric field; due to the electrostatic charging and solvent evaporation, the precursor mixture is converted into nonwoven meshes with different fiber densities and mechanical properties. Moreover, polyaniline is a conducting polymer with interesting optical properties, suitable for displays and electrochromic windows. Otherwise, polyaniline is an electroactive polymer that can contract/expand by applying electric stimuli, due to the oxidation/reduction reactions which take place in the polymer chains. These two main properties can be exploited in order to synthesize smart materials that change their dimensions, exhibiting in the same time good electrochromic properties. In the context aforesaid, a poly(methyl metacrylate) solution was spun to get webs composed of fibers with diameter values between 500 nm and 1 ┬Ám. Further, the polymer meshes were covered with a gold layer in order to make them conductive and also appropriate as working electrode in an electrochemical cell. The gold shell was deposited by DC sputtering. Such metalized fibers can be transformed into smart materials by covering them with a thin layer of conductive polymer. Thus, the webs were coated with a polyaniline film by the electrochemical route, starting from and aqueous solution of aniline and sulfuric acid, where sulfuric acid acts as oxidant agent. For the polymerization of aniline, a saturated calomel electrode was employed as reference, a platinum plate as counter electrode and the gold covered webs as working electrode. Chronoamperometry was selected as deposition method for polyaniline, by modifying the deposition time. Metalized meshes with different fiber densities were used, the transmission ranging between 70 and 80 %. The morphological investigation showed that polyaniline layer has a granular structure for all deposition experiments. As well, some preliminary optical tests were done by using sulfuric acid as electrolyte, which revealed the modification of polyaniline colour from green to dark blue when applying a voltage. In conclusion, new multilayered materials were obtained by a simple approach: the merge of the electrospinning method benefits with polyaniline chemistry. This synthesis method allows the fabrication of structures with reproducible characteristics, suitable for display or tissue substituents.

Keywords: Smart Materials, Electrospinning, fibers, polyaniline

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