Spontaneous Patterning during Frontal Polymerization

Researchers from the University of Illinois developed a novel method to fabricate patterns on polymer substrate pDCPD and pCOD using frontal polymerization(FP). Unlike traditional polymer manufacturing techniques, this technology does not rely on deterministic methods such as molds, inverse replicas. By introducing thermal instabilities, this invention generates patterns as the polymerization process takes place through FP with a significantly lower energy input and shorter curing process compared to the previously available technique. Notably, the patterning introduced in the polymer using this technology is not limited to the surface. It can also change the mechanical property of the polymer, specifically stiffness, opacity, and absorbance, to create volume patterning as well as color patterning.

This technology can be utilized to introduce unique designs in various applications. Furthermore, it can potentially improve surface functionalities as well as the mechanical function of the polymer used in various products including automotive body panels, aerospace applications, protective films, construction material, and many more.