Shape Memory Polymer Foam with Programmable Apertures

Polymers (Basel). 2020 Aug 25;12(9):1914. doi: 10.3390/polym12091914.


In this work, a novel type of polyester urethane urea (PEUU) foam is introduced. The foam was produced by reactive foaming using a mixture of poly(1,10-decamethylene adipate) diol and poly(1,4-butylene adipate) diol, 4,4'-diphenylmethane diisocyanate, 1,4-butanediol, diethanolamine and water as blowing agent. As determined by differential scanning calorimetry, the melting of the ester-based phases occurred at temperatures in between 25 °C and 61 °C, while the crystallization transition spread from 48 °C to 20 °C. The mechanical properties of the foam were simulated with the hyperplastic models Neo-Hookean and Ogden, whereby the latter showed a better agreement with the experimental data as evidenced by a Pearson correlation coefficient R² above 0.99. Once thermomechanically treated, the foam exhibited a maximum actuation of 13.7% in heating-cooling cycles under a constant external load. In turn, thermal cycling under load-free conditions resulted in an actuation of more than 10%. Good thermal insulation properties were demonstrated by thermal conductivities of 0.039 W·(m·K)-1 in the pristine state and 0.052 W·(m·K)-1 in a state after compression by 50%, respectively. Finally, three demonstrators were developed, which closed an aperture or opened it again simply by changing the temperature. The self-sufficient material behavior is particularly promising in the construction industry, where programmable air slots offer the prospect of a dynamic insulation system for an adaptive building envelope.

Keywords: actuation; air slot; construction; foam; polyester urethane urea; programmable material.