Thermoset polymers are known for their superior thermomechanical properties, but the chemical crosslinking typically leads to intractability. This is reflected in the great differences between thermoset and thermoplastic shape-memory polymers; the former exhibit a robust shape memory but are not capable of redefining the permanent shape. Contrary to current knowledge, we reveal here that a classical thermoset shape-memory polyurethane is readily capable of permanent reshaping (plasticity) after a topological network rearrangement that is induced by transcarbamoylation. By employing the Jianzhi technique (also known as kirigami), unexpected shape-shifting versatility was observed for this otherwise classical material. As the essential carbamate moiety in polyurethanes is one of the most common polymer building units, we anticipate that our finding will have significant benefits beyond shape shifting.
Keywords: elasticity; plasticity; polymers; polyurethane; shape memory.
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