Focused ultrasound actuation of shape memory polymers; acoustic-thermoelastic modeling and testing†
Controlled drug delivery (CDD) technologies have received extensive attention recently. Despite recent efforts, drug releasing systems still face major challenges in practice, including low efficiency in releasing the pharmaceutical compounds at the targeted location with a controlled time rate. We present an experimentally-validated acoustic-thermoelastic mathematical framework for modeling the focused ultrasound (FU)-induced thermal actuation of shape memory polymers (SMPs). This paper also investigates the feasibility of using SMPs stimulated by FU for designing CDD systems. SMPs represent a new class of materials that have gained increased attention for designing biocompatible devices. These polymers have the ability of storing a temporary shape and returning to their permanent or original shape when subjected to external stimuli such as heat. In this work, FU is used as a trigger for noninvasively stimulating SMP-based systems. FU has a superior capability to localize the heating effect, thus initiating the shape recovery process only in selected parts of the polymer. The multiphysics model optimizes the design of a SMP-based CDD system through analysis of a filament as a constituting base-structure and quantifies its activation under FU. Experimental validations are performed using a SMP filament submerged in water coupled with the acoustic waves generated by a FU transducer. The modeling results are used to examine and optimize parameters such as medium properties, input power and frequency, location, geometry and chemical composition of the SMP to achieve favorable shape recovery of a potential drug delivery system.