Reduced time as a unified parameter determining fixity and free recovery of shape memory polymers

Nat Commun. 2014;5:3066. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4066.


Shape memory polymers are at the forefront of recent materials research. Although the basic concept has been known for decades, recent advances in the research of shape memory polymers demand a unified approach to predict the shape memory performance under different thermo-temporal conditions. Here we report such an approach to predict the shape fixity and free recovery of thermo-rheologically simple shape memory polymers. The results show that the influence of programming conditions to free recovery can be unified by a reduced programming time that uniquely determines shape fixity, which consequently uniquely determines the shape recovery with a reduced recovery time. Furthermore, using the time-temperature superposition principle, shape recoveries under different thermo-temporal conditions can be extracted from the shape recovery under the reduced recovery time. Finally, a shape memory performance map is constructed based on a few simple standard polymer rheology tests to characterize the shape memory performance of the polymer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.