The new materials, known as "triple-shape materials," can assume three different shapes, each shape depending on how much heat is applied.
This landmark achievement comes from the laboratories of chemical engineer Robert Langer of MIT and polymer chemist Andreas Lendlein of the Helmholtz Institute in Teltow, Germany.
"Triple-shape materials can switch from shape A, then to shape B, and on to shape C," Lendlein explained. "Using two, rather than just one, shape-changes offers unique opportunities for applications such as 'intelligent' stents, or 'smart' fastener systems" for use in assembling commercial products, he said.
An "intelligent stent" made of the new class of plastics could assume three different shapes to facilitate medical procedures: It would assume a handy oval shape for insertion, then a fully inflated round shape for temporary use inside a blood vessel, duct or other cylindrical organ, and lastly, a compressed cylindrical shape for easy removal.
The triple-shape-shift from shape A to B to C could also have applications in industry. In factories, changeable plastic fasteners could be implanted in, or attached to, one part, then heated to extend an arm to another part. With further heating, the fastener would change shape yet again to lock itself in place. In effect, it would be an automated form of self-assembly.
Langer, an MIT Institute Professor, said, "It's like a new principle in materials, and it will be producing new opportunities. I imagine that if you had things you want to install, and then remove," the ability to change their shapes at will could be useful. "It's the first time I've seen something that will go from shape A to shape B and then shape C."
A paper on the work will appear in the Nov. 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Langer and Lendlein's coauthors are Ph.D. student Ingo Bellin and polymer chemist Steffen Kelch. Both work with Lendlein, who is leading the Center for Biomaterial Development in Teltow, near Berlin.
In earlier work, Lendlein and Langer invented a dual-shape class of materials, leading to what they call a "smart suture" that changes shape as needed for surgery (web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2002/langer-suture.html), and they introduced a plastic that changes shape when activated by light (web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2005/smart-plastics.html). In November 2005 they received the World Technology Network Award for these achievements.
Elizabeth A. Thomson | MIT News Office
Melting solid below the freezing point
23.01.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science
An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk
20.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering