The aim of this project is to design, fabricate and investigate magneto responsive surfaces based on magneto-active elastomers (MAEs) and to explore their potential applications in optical devices and in microfluidic systems. MAEs are rubbery substances composed of a soft polymer matrix with embedded micrometer-sized ferromagnetic particles. They are also known as magnetorheological elastomers (MREs) and are often perceived as solid analogues to magnetorheological fluids. Hitherto, the majority of research on MAEs concentrated on their bulk properties. However, recently it has been realized that surface properties of MAEs substantially alter in a magnetic field too, which opened a new research field associated with them. The main underlying mechanism of magnetically tunable surface properties of MAEs are magnetic field-induced modifications of their surface roughness. Due to this property, MAEs are an excellent candidate for magneto responsive surface coatings with dynamically tunable characteristics. The main objective of the proposed project is to unravel the interplay between physical, chemical, and structural processes that enable active regulation of surface topography of soft MAEs (pristine and microstructured) with an external magnetic field. The additional aims are to resolve how magnetic field-induced surface modifications influence the interaction properties of soft MAEs with some selected liquids and with optical radiation and to explore some magneto-responsive surface phenomena that might have implications for new technological applications. The investigations will be based on systematic experimental analysis of selected properties and phenomena. The central goal of this fundamental science project is attainment of a thorough understanding of the dependencies between the MAE material structure, its surface properties and the properties of the associated surface interaction phenomena.
More details on SICRIS
The research project is (co)financed by the Slovenian Research and Innovation Agency.