Magnetically sensitive polymers

Magnetically sensitive polymers
Robert Uhrlass, Sean Woodward, Cristina Schlesier, Petr Shibaev, PhD
Department of Physics
Novel polymer composite films with unusual optical properties were designed and
studied. The matrix of the composite material is silicone polymer and the filler is
submicron or nano particles of ferromagnetic metals and/or metal oxides (Ni and Fe2O3).
Composite materials were obtained via polymerization of silicone based monomers.
Polymerization of the monomers was conducted in magnetic field that oriented metal
particles inside the matrix, and polymer samples were prepared as thin films sandwiched
between two glass plates.
The samples have unusual optical properties: high optical anisotropy and peculiar
dependencies of light transmission as a function of angle of incidence. Films are highly
transparent at normal incidence of light and become opaque or/and dark when the angle
of incidence increases.
The distribution of nano particles inside the samples were studied by optical
microscopy and atomic force microscopy. It was shown that at certain strength of
magnetic field the particles penetrate the surface and form sharp “islands” above the
surface. This results in anisotropic and increased surface adhesion at certain orientation
of the particles. Films with different orientation of particles react differently to the
presence of external magnetic field.
Presenter Bio
Robert Uhrlass is pursuing a major in physics at FCRH. He has participated in research
under the guidance of Dr. Shibaev since he was admitted to Fordham University.
Currently he is working on polymer composites displaying magnetic properties.