Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New Self-Stretching Material Developed at University of Rochester


No limit to number of times material can change shape

Although most materials slightly expand when heated, there is a new class of rubber-like material that not only self-stretches upon cooling; it reverts back to its original shape when heated, all without physical manipulation.

The findings were recently published in the journal ACS Macro Letters.

The material is like a shape-memory polymer because it can be switched between two different shapes. “However, unlike other shape-memory polymers, the material does not need to be programmed each cycle—it repeatedly switches shapes, with no external forces, simply upon cooling and heating,” said Mitchell Anthamatten, an associate professor of chemical engineering.

Anthamatten and his team built on the success of a recently developed polymer that can also stretch when cooled. The other polymers need to have small loads—or weights—attached in order to direct the shape to be taken. That is not the case with the Rochester polymer, because Anthamatten’s team “tricked it into thinking” a load was attached.

To carry out their strategy, the researchers introduced permanent stress inside the material. They began with polymer strands that were loosely connected by bonds called crosslinks that create a network of molecules. The material was stretched with a load attached to give it the desired shape. At that point, they added more crosslinks and cooled the polymer, causing crystallization to occur along a preferred direction.

Anthamatten’s team showed that internal crystallization forces are strong enough to stretch the material along one direction. Once cooled below about 50 °C, polymer chain segments pack into highly ordered micro-layers called lamellae. This reorganization occurs within a network of polymer chains, causing the material’s length to increase by over 15 percent.

“The stress we built into the network takes the place of the load and enables the material to ‘remember’ the shape it will assume when it’s later cooled without a load,” said Anthamatten.

Conventional shape-memory polymers need to be reprogrammed after each cycle, but that’s not the case with the material developed by Anthamatten and his team. After multiple cycles of cooling and heating, they found that the material assumed its programmed shape and returned to its initial state with no noticeable deviation.

Anthamatten envisions the material being applied to a number of areas in which reversible shape-changes are needed during operations, including biotechnology, artificial muscles, and robotics.

“The next step is to optimize the shape of the polymer material and the energy released during the process,” said Anthamatten. “That will be done by adjusting the type and density of crosslinks that tie the individual chains together.”

The research team included two of Anthamatten’s students—Yuan Meng and Jisu Jiang. The work was supported internally by the University of Rochester’s Pump Primer Seed Grant Program, which exists to support proof-of-concept studies.

Contact Information
Peter Iglinski
Senior Press Officer, Science & Public Media
Phone: 585-273-4726
Mobile: 585-764-7002

Peter Iglinski | newswise
Further information:

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>