Study on the moisture absorption of zwitterionic copolymers for moisture-sensitive shape memory applications

Zhankui Mei, Huanhuan Ren, Shaojun Chen, Zaochuan Ge, Jinlian Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study develops a new type of moisture-sensitive shape memory polymer based on zwitterionic copolymers synthesized with acrylic acid (AA) and 3-Dimethyl (methacryloyloxyethyl) ammonium propane sulfonate (DMAPS). The moisture absorption properties of zwitterionic copolymers are particularly investigated in this paper. The results demonstrate that the DMAPS/AA copolymers possess a sulfobetaine structure and form a two-phase separation structure. The zwitterionic copolymers show both good hydrophilic properties and moisture absorption properties. Both AA and DMAPS segments influence the hydrophilic properties and moisture absorption of the composite copolymer. The moisture absorption process is well modeled by Fick's second law in its initial stage. The moisture absorption is mainly determined by immersion conditions and the given materials' structure. Moisture absorption speed and saturated moisture absorption both increase with an increase in DMAPS content as well as the immersion temperature. The increased moisture absorption rate and higher saturated moisture absorption results from the higher activation energy of diffusion. The DMAPS/AA copolymers demonstrate adequate moisture-sensitive shape memory effects. Stain recovery is faster in the zwitterionic copolymers containing higher DMAPS content, whereas the final shape recovery decreases with an increase of DMAPS content. Finally, it is proposed that not only good moisture absorption units are required but also physical crosslinks should be improved for moisture-sensitive shape memory polymers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1464-1472
Number of pages9
JournalPolymers for Advanced Technologies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • moisture absorption
  • shape memory
  • smart materials
  • zwitterionic polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics


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