UV-triggered shape-controllable PP fabric†
A light-driven polypropylene (PP) fabric as an actuator was fabricated in which a light-responsive polymeric film acts as an active layer and a PP fabric acts as a passive layer. For this, poly[di(ethylene glycol)methyl ether methacrylate-co-pentafluorophenyl acrylate] P(DEGMA-co-PFPA) containing reactive pentafluorophenyl esters was synthesized as a precursor polymer. Owing to the highly reactive esters on P(DEGMA-co-PFPA), photoactive azobenzene moieties were introduced onto the polymer backbone via a post-modification polymerization strategy to form a light-responsive polymer, poly[di(ethylene glycol)methyl ether methacrylate-co-4-(4-methoxy-phenylazo) acrylate] (P(DEGMA-co-MOPAzo)). Interestingly, this copolymer can be attached in a simple and stable manner to the surface of a PP fabric via physical adsorption to build a light-responsive PP fabric. On account of its light responsiveness, this functional polymer PP fabric can immediately respond to a UV stimulus and show a reversible shape transition upon alternating exposure to UV irradiation and the addition of heat.