Folding behavior and molecular mechanism of cross-linked biopolymer film in response to water

A Rath and S Mathesan and P Ghosh, SOFT MATTER, 12, 9210-9222 (2016).

DOI: 10.1039/c6sm01994c

Water responsive biopolymers are gaining enormous attention in the different areas of research and applications related to self-folding. In this work, we report that cross-linking is an efficient means of modifying a single layer biopolymer film for a controlled and predictable pathway of folding. The initiation of the folding of a film is caused by the diffusion of water molecules along the film thickness. However, this folding is observed to take place in an unpredictable and random fashion with a pristine biopolymer film and a nano-particle reinforced film. The mechanical properties and the diffusion characteristics of the film are strongly interrelated and affect the overall folding behavior. The underlying mechanism behind this relation is appropriately substantiated by an in depth molecular dynamic study. The detailed characterization of the folding shape and material behavior is performed applying suitable experimental techniques. The potential application of the controlled folding of the cross-linked film as a sensor and as a soft crane is demonstrated in this report.

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