Date of Thesis

Spring 2024


Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are a category of smart material that possess shape memorization properties, and can be configured into a variety of shapes for biomedical applications. Poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) combined with a polyethylene oxide based epoxy has a triple shape memory mechanism, and can be programmed using heat to form two temporary shapes: one above the melting temperature of the PCL and the other above the melting temperature of the epoxy. After cooling the temporary shapes are ‘fixed’ and, upon heating, the material can spring back to its original shape if heated above both transition temperatures.

This study was conducted to determine how different processing techniques can impact various properties of an epoxy/polymer composite. The two techniques studied were the creation of polyethylene oxide based epoxy with poly(ε-caprolactone) (PEO-EP/PCL) composites via electrospinning PCL into fiber mats in which the epoxy is absorbed into the fibrous pores compared to using polymerization-induced phase separation.

Electrospinning is a complex, but very beneficial fabrication technique that produces very thin nanofibers that can be oriented to create a specific morphology. Alternatively, polymerization-induced phase separation is a simpler process that produces multiphase crosslinked composites.

After fabrication via both methods, each composite was quantified using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) to determine the thermomechanical properties for comparison to each other as well as the shape memory effects of each of the composites to determine the amount of fixing and recovery that occurs.


Polymer, Electrospinning, Epoxy, Polymerization induced phase separation, poly(ε-caprolactone)

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Patrick T. Mather

Second Advisor

Ryan Snyder