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Chemically-Triggered Synthesis, Remodeling, and Degradation of Soft Materials

  • Typical polymers, such as those used in plastics, are static structures whose material properties are not readily manipulated.  Further, most plastics cannot degrade, and thus accumulate in the environment.
  • This works demonstrated a series of morphological changes could be induced with a small set of monomers due to the use of reversible covalent bonding interactions.
  • Amphiphilic polymers, hydrogels, hydrophobic entities, and cross-linked matrices, could be all be interchanged by the addition of simple chemical triggers.
  • Differences in rheology, strength, as well as gelling and optical properties, were easily controlled and manipulated with the chemical triggers.
  • Finally, and maybe most significant, all the macromolecular structures were easily and rapidly converted (degraded) into small organic compounds with the treatment of a single chemical trigger.