Researcher: Daniela Marques (MS&E Undergraduate)
Ultraviolet Responsive Polyurethanes with Variable Moduli Via Coumarin Moieties
A Path to Integration in Delicate Grasping Mechanisms for Humanoid Robotics
Daniela Marques, Erin Askounis, Qibing Pei
Sponsor: INTEL/ SRC Education Alliance
A polymer with ultraviolet (UV) responsive changes in stiffness can be utilized as a grasping mechanism for delicate objects
in humanoid robotics. A polymer synthesized using polyethylene glycol (PEG) (soft segment) with dihydroethoxy methyl
coumarin (DHEOMC) and hexamethylene diisocyanate (HMDI) (hard segment) exhibits a change in elastic modulus
after UV exposure.When exposed to long-wave UV (365 nm), crosslinking occurs – stiffening the polymer; short-wave
UV (254 nm) exposure reverses the reaction. Varying molecular weights of PEG (Mn = 200 and 400 g/mol) yields
polymers with different mechanical properties. The modulus changes in each polymer are
determined by dynamic mechanical analysis before and after exposure.
PEG200 demonstrated a larger modulus change after exposure than PEG400, due
to higher crosslinking density. The largest modulus change for PEG400 was 2.1-fold, while
the PEG200 exhibited a 15-fold increase. Polymers exhibiting a large modulus increase
is ideal for the enhancement of humanoid robotics.
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