Improved transparency switching in paraffin-PDMS composites

H. N. Apostoleris, M. Chiesa, M. Stefancich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Composites of paraffin wax and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) have previously been demonstrated to exhibit thermally-induced switching between a transparent 'on' state and opaque 'off' state; however, the transmittance of the on state in previously investigated composites was found to decrease with increasing the wax content, thus limiting the achievable off-on contrast. We present a new paraffin-PDMS composite formulation that exhibits essentially no decrease in on-state transparency up to a 10% wax concentration. We furthermore identify the underlying cause of the switching as a microstructural transformation from a homogeneous, transparent state to an inhomogeneous, light-scattering state as a result of the phase transition of the paraffin. We then present a model based on the theory of turbid media that allows for the estimation of the scattering power of a composite of known composition based on easily observed parameters, and suggest ways in which the contrast between the 'on' and 'off' states may be further enhanced.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)1371-1377
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Issue number6
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2015


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