Humidity-responsive Bilayer Actuators Comprised of Porous and Nonporous Poly(acrylic acid)/Poly(allylamine hydrochloride) Films
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Bilayer humidity-responsive actuators are generally composed of actuating and supporting layers of different materials with largely different wettability. Such kinds of bilayer actuators suffer from low adhesive force between the two layers during usage. This study demonstrates the preparation of humidity-responsive bilayer actuators that have the same materials in the actuating and supporting layers to avoid the adhesive issue. The bilayer actuators consist of a porous poly(acrylic acid) (PAA)/poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) layer and a nonporous PAA/PAH layer that are fabricated by exponentially layer-by-layer assembly method. At a high/low relative humidity (RH), the nonporous PAA/PAH layer can efficiently expand/shrink by absorbing/desorbing water while the volume expansion/shrinkage of the porous PAA/PAH layer in an environment with changed humidity is significantly suppressed by the micrometer-sized pores. The largely different expansion/shrinkage of the nonporous and porous PAA/PAH layers when subjected to humidity changes enables rapid and reversible rolling/unrolling motions of the bilayer actuator. The bilayer actuator shows a faster rolling speed and a larger bending curvature when subjected to a larger humidity increase.
KeywordsLayer-by-layer assembly Materials science Porous films Surface chemistry
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This work was financially supported by the National Basic Research Program (No. 2013CB834503) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21225419).
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