The use of dielectric property measurements to define specific trends in the molecular structures of poly(caprolactone) containing star polymers and/or the interbatch repeatability of the synthetic procedures used to generate them is demonstrated. The magnitude of the dielectric property value is shown to accurately reflect: (a) the number of functional groups within a series of materials with similar molecular size when no additional intermolecular order is present in the medium, (b) the polymer molecular size for a series of materials containing a fixed core material and so functional group number, and/or (c) the batch to batch repeatability of the synthesis method. The dielectric measurements are validated by comparison to spectroscopic/chromatographic data.
The delivery of macromolecular platinum drugs into cancerous cells is enhanced by conjugating the polymer to albumin. The monomers N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide (HPMA) and Boc protected 1,3-diaminopropan-2-yl acrylate (Ac-DAP-Boc) are copolymerized in the presence of a furan protected maleimide functionalized reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) agent. The resulting polymer with a composition of P(HPMA14 -co-(Ac-DAP-Boc)9 ) and a molecular weight of Mn = 7600 g mol(-1) (Đ = 1.24) is used as a macromolecular ligand for the conjugation to the platinum drug. Thermogravimetric analysis reveals full conjugation. After deprotection of the maleimide functionality of the polymer, the reactive polymer is conjugated to albumin using the Cys34 functionality. The conjugation is monitored using size exclusion chromatography, MALDI-TOF (matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight), and SDS Page (sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis). The polymer-albumin conjugates self-assemble in water into nanoparticles of sizes of around 80 nm thanks to the hydrophobic nature of the platinum drugs. The albumin coated nanoparticles are readily taken up by ovarian cancer cell lines and they show superior toxicity compared to a control sample without protein coating.
Device applications of shape memory polymers demand diverse shape changing geometries, which are currently limited to non-omnidirectional movement. This restriction originates from traditional thermomechanical programming methods such as uniaxial, biaxial stretching, bending, or compression. A solvent-modulated programming method is reported to achieve an omnidirectional shape memory behavior. The method utilizes freeze drying of hydrogels of polyethylene glycol networks with a melting transition temperature around 50 °C in their dry state. Such a process creates temporarily fixed macroporosity, which collapses upon heating, leading to significant omnidirectional shrinkage. These shrunken materials can swell in water to form hydrogels again and the omnidirectional programming and recovery can be repeated. The fixity ratio (R f ) and recovery ratio (R r ) can be maintained at 90% and 98% respectively upon shape memory multicycling. The maximum linear recoverable strain, as limited by the maximum swelling, is ≈90%. Amongst various application potentials, one can envision the fabrication of multiphase composites by taking advantages of the omnidirectional shrinkage from a porous polymer to a denser structure.