New Scalable Approach toward Shape Memory Polymer Composites via “Spring-Buckle” Microstructure Design
mediaposted on 30.03.2017 by Xiaodong Wu, Yangyang Han, Zehang Zhou, Xinxing Zhang, Canhui Lu
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Shape memory polymers (SMPs) have attracted tremendous research interest since their discovery. However, most advances in research of SMPs are based on molecular designs, i.e., “bottom-up” strategies. Due to the viscoelasticity of polymers, slow and incomplete shape variations are inevitable for most existing SMPs. Here, we propose a simple and scalable approach to design and fabricate SMP composites (SMPCs) based on a “spring-buckle” microstructure design. Specifically, a highly elastic “spring” is employed as a basic skeleton for the SMPCs, onto which self-adhesive and stimuli-responsive “buckles” are installed as reversible switch units. The resultant SMPCs with such “spring-buckle” microstructure enable quick programming at ambient temperature and ultrafast (2–3 s) and nearly complete (∼100%) shape recovery triggered by organic solvents, benefiting from a unique capillary effect. This structural approach provides a novel design philosophy for shape memory materials and opens up new opportunities for their applications in sensor, actuator, aerospace, and other applications.