Shape Memory Polymers (SMPs)
Publishing Time:2016-12-29

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) are a kind of stimuli-responsive smart materials with the ability to undergo a large recoverable deformation upon certain external stimulus, (e.g., heat, electricity, light, magnetism, moisture and chemicals). SMPs possess numerous technical advantages compared with shape memory alloys including high recoverable strains, ease of processing, the ability to tailor the recovery temperature, programmable and controllable recovery behavior, low cost and light-weight, etc. Combining such advantages with the smart shape memory behavior, SMPs presents significant potential and practical applications in various important fields.

Fig. 1 Schematic of shape memory effect during a typical thermo-mechanical cycle.

In our group, we focus on:

(a) Fabrication of various kinds of SMPs with different glass transition temperatures (Tg),  including

SMPs based on

Tg (℃)





Poly (ε-caprolactone)






We can provide diverse SMPs with different Tg for future collaborations.

(b) Investigation of the actuation approaches of SMPs and their composites, including:

· Thermal-actuated method

· Electrical-actuated method

· Light-actuated method

· Magnetic-actuated method

· Solvent-actuated method

· Multistage-actuated method

  žFig. 2 Multistage-actuated shape memory recovery process (A) in 34oC, 37 oC and 41 oC water, respectively, (B)in an alternating magnetic field with a frequency of 20 kHz and a fieldstrength of 6.8 kA m-1 and (C) in the supplied voltage 60 V.

Fig.3 The novel water-induced SMPs composite with 3D microvoid is designed based on chemical interaction.

(c) Exploration of the potential and practical applications of SMPs and their composites in various fields, including:

· Deployable structures

· Morphing structures

· Medical devices

· Foams

· Smart mandrel

· Self-healing  systems