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Macromol Rapid Commun. 2012 Feb 13;33(3):206-11. doi: 10.1002/marc.201100620. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

Learning from nature: synthesis and characterization of longitudinal polymer gradient materials inspired by mussel byssus threads.

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Department of Macromolecular Chemistry I, University of Bayreuth, 95440 Bayreuth, Germany.


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. A straightforward approach for the preparation of macroscopic longitudinal polymer gradient materials on the centimeter scale based on a poly(dimethyl siloxane) system is presented. Compositional gradients are realized by using three syringe pumps feeding different prepolymers capable to undergo thermal cross-linking. Within the gradient samples, the stiffness between the hard and soft part can be varied up to a factor of four. The gradients are analyzed by UV-Vis spectroscopy as well as compressive and tensile modulus testing.

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