Characterization of Automatically Reticulated Shape Memory Polymer Foams
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Polyurethane shape memory polymer (SMP) foams have been shown to be biocompatible within porcine models and show potential to treat intracranial saccular aneurysms in patients, and use in other medical applications. After initial fabrication, SMP foams are closed-celled foams, a property that could potentially slow or inhibit complete healing of an aneurysm, limiting the potential for use of the foam as a medical application or as potential scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. Mechanical reticulation of SMP foams is a process that creates a network of open-celled pores within SMP foam while preserving the backbone framework of the foam. This process provides pathways for fluid diffusion and the accumulation of clotting factors within the bulk volume of the material; a property useful for SMP foams in medical application and potentially for tissue scaffolds. However, reticulation is also an arduous process that requires a significant time investment. An automated mechanical reticulation system will be used in order to process SMP foams at varying degrees of reticulation, the results of which will be characterized. SMP foams will be studied by changing the density of open-celled pores within a unit area of the foam. The goal of this optimization process will be to characterize the porous media properties, mechanical properties, and recovery volumes of SMP foams as a function of the number of pathways per unit area. Future work will test these relationships in vivo and evaluate their effectiveness at occluding intracranial aneurysms.
Porous Media Properties
Zaballa, Vincent (2014). Characterization of Automatically Reticulated Shape Memory Polymer Foams. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from