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Shape Memory Healing

Shape Memory Healing

The ability of a shape memory material to return to its original shape after being deformed was first observed in 1932 in an alloy of Gold and Cadmium (AuCd). Since then, many more shape memory materials have been developed, including metallic alloys and plastic polymers.

Self-healing autonomous material comes to life – [physorg.com]

Now, in the Journal of Applied Physics, researchers at Arizona State University have created a material that may be able to not only sense damage in structural materials, such as cracking in a fiber-reinforced composite, but to even heal it. The aim of developing “autonomous adaptive structures” is to mimic the ability of biological systems such as bone to sense the presence of damage, halt its progression, and regenerate itself.

Shape-memory alloys aid self-healing epoxies – [arstechnica.com]

Shape-memory alloys are an interesting class of materials that exhibit a transformation in crystal structure at low temperatures, allowing, among other things, for the metal to change shapes back and forth without any damage to the microstructure. The fundamental relationship between stress and strain (deformation) also dictates that, if you pin a shape memory alloy in place, you can induce large stresses in the material by restricting its movement during a transformation of its crystal structure.

Shape Memory Polymer – [inventables.com]

This particular plastic is made using a shape memory polymer. It can be readily formed and even stretched to any new shape just using your hands, but when you warm it to about 100°F (38°C) it quickly returns to its “programmed” shape.

The plastic can be easily “reprogrammed” by bending it into a new shape, wrapping it with aluminum foil to hold that shape, and then submersing it in hot water (about 160°F or 71°C) for a few minutes. To have a poseable rigid shape memory polymer that is not brittle, meaning it can be severely bent and stretched without risk of cracking or stressing the material, and one that is so easily reprogrammed is remarkable.

Intelligent plastics change shape with light – [mit.edu]

Picture a flower that opens when facing the sunlight. In work that mimics that sensitivity to light, an MIT engineer and his German colleagues have created the first plastics that can be deformed and temporarily fixed into shape by light.

These programmed materials change shape when struck by light at certain wavelengths and return to their original shapes when exposed to light of specific different wavelengths.

The discovery, to be reported in the April 14 [2005] issue of Nature, could have potential applications in a variety of fields, including minimally invasive surgery. Imagine, for example, a “string” of plastic that a doctor could thread into the body through a tiny incision. When activated by light via a fiber-optic probe, that slender string might change into a corkscrew-shaped stent for keeping blood vessels open.

Understanding shape-shifting polymers – [mit.edu]

Shape-memory polymers are not a new discovery, as anyone who has played with Shrinky-Dinks or who has used heat-shrink tubing for wires in an electronic circuit can testify. But now, thanks to new analysis by researchers at MIT, the behavior of these interesting materials has been mathematically modeled in detail, which should make it easier to use the materials in new ways; potential applications include implantable biomedical devices and space structures that could be launched in a compact form and then unfurled once in orbit.

SEE ALSO:
Claytronics
Printing Space Habitats
Metallic Glass

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