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Last updateMon, 26 Jul 2021 2pm

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Shape-memory polymer that responds to two stimuli

The CSIC and the University of Mons have developed a biocompatible and biodegradable polymer that changes its shape in response to a first stimulus, and recovers its original state in response to a second and different stimulus. Companies interested in the patent license are sought.

A graph of the new material response. Humidity-mechanical cycles. 2D stress versus 3D stress-temperature cycle diagram, up and down respectively.Scientists from the Institute of Polymer Science and Technology of the CSIC and the University of Mons (Belgium) have developed a material that combines three commercially available materials, a polymer with shape memory that responds to a double stimulus.

Shape-memory polymers are capable of changing their physical shape in response to an external stimulus. A common example is a material that changes its shape when temperature increases, and returns to the original position when temperature decreases. Other examples would be materials that respond to other external stimulus, such as light, pH, humidity, electric fields or magnetic fields.

Instead, this new composite material does not respond to a single stimulus but to two. Thus, in the developed prototype, when temperature changes, the material changes its shape. For returning to the original form it requires a second different stimulus, humidity. This could allow intelligent material designs with a greater control of the response, as the second stimulus is required.

The shape memory effect is not an intrinsic property of materials, but requires preparing them in a two-stage process: programming and recovery. In the programming stage, the material deforms and sets a temporary shape. In the recovery, another stimulus is applied so the material recovers its initial permanent fixed form.

This material is obtained through the combination of three commercial materials. The resulting material could be used in fields as different as biomedical devices or in packaging. It is easy to obtain and has a competitive price.

Contact:

Álvaro González
Vicepresidencia Adjunta de Transferencia del Conocimiento
Instituto de Ciencia y TecnologÍa de Polímeros (ICTP-CSIC)
Tel.: 915622900 (ext. 921513)
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