|Claußen, K.U.; Giesa, R.; Scheibel, T.; Schmidt, H.-W.: Learning from Nature: Synthesis and Characterization of Longitudinal Polymer Gradient Materials Inspired by Mussel Byssus Threads, Macromolecular Rapid Communications, 33(3), 206-211 (2012) -- DOI: 10.1002/marc.201100620|
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. We present a straightforward approach for the preparation of macroscopic longitudinal polymer gradient materials on the centimeter scale based on a poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) system. Compositional gradients are realized by using three syringe pumps feeding different prepolymers capable to undergo thermal crosslinking. Within the gradient samples, the stiffness between the hard and soft part can be varied up to factor of four. The gradients are analyzed by UV/Vis spectroscopy as well as compressive and tensile modulus testing.