The latest advance in shapeshifting polymer could lead to a new generation of materials for innovations in medical, electronics and other fields.
A team of Chinese scientists at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou has unveiled a new shape memory polymer that can change its permanent shapes multiple times — remembering its current shape as well as new ones. This is believed to be a big step up from existing self-folding polymers, enabling intricate configurations and features.
In a most vivid way of illustration, the team turned a 30-milimeter square of the plastic elastic material into an origami that could fold between two shapes.
Zhejiang University said the research team was led by Tao Xie at its State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering.
The research paper “Shape Memory Polymer Network with Thermally Distinct Elasticity and Plasticity” was published in Science Advances on Jan. 8.