Vanishing Devices – From Sensors to Drones Enabled by Transient Polymers

P.A. Kohl, J. Jiang, A. Engler, M. Warner
Georgia Institute of Technology,
United States

Keywords: transient polymers, vanishing sensors


Transient materials are those designed for a specific end-of-life. The device end-of-life can be triggered by the end of a mission, an event (e.g. sunrise), or simply be planned obsolescence (don’t clutter a land-fill). Transient polymers are particularly valuable in these devices because they can be used as structural materials (component backbone) or part of the active device (e.g. sensors). Low ceiling temperature poly(aldehydes) are particularly valuable because the can be depolymerized into liquids or gases at a variety of temperatures when exposed to thermal, chemical, or photochemical stimuli. The nature of transient polymers will be described including advances in the synthesis of poly(aldehydes), component formulations & physical properties, triggering mechanisms, and component processing. The applications include disappearing sensors and airborne delivery vehicles.