Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plastics with a Memory

28.06.2002


Self-repairing fenders and intelligent implants - shape-memory polymers as materials of the future



With a bang, the fender is dented and has to be replaced. Wouldn`t it be nice if the dent could simply - presto! - disappear? Such "intelligent" materials are already being developed, relate Andreas Lendlein and Steffen Kelch in an overview of the field in Angewandte Chemie.

Shape-memory polymers, that`s the magic words: after an undesired deformation, such as a dent in the fender, these plastics "remember" their original shape. Heating them up gives their "memory" a boost - the dent could thus be removed with a hair-dryer.


Polymers with shape memory have both a visible, current form and a stored, permanent one. Once the latter has been produced by conventional methods, the material is molded into a second, temporary form by skillful heating, deformation, and finally cooling. The plastic maintains this shape until the permanent form is recalled by a predetermined external stimulus. The secret behind these clever materials lies in their molecular network structure, which contains meltable "switching segments". Raising the temperature activates the switching: the crystallized switching segments melt and the material resumes its original form.

In the case of the fender, we are just interested in one shape: the undamaged original shape. The impact results in a temporary form, which changes back to the original form upon heating - the plastic repairs itself.

The two researchers have high hopes that especially interesting applications will be found for shape memory polymers that are tolerated physiologically. These are just the thing for buttonhole surgery, the gentle operative technique of the future. It is conceivable that large implants in a compressed state could be introduced into the body in a minimally invasive fashion, and could subsequently "remember" their original shape. Such materials can also be made to be completely biodegradable, eventually disappearing out of the patient`s body.

Frank Maass | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Modern genetic sequencing tools give clearer picture of how corals are related
17.08.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>