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.
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