High-energy shape memory polymer could someday help robots flex their muscles

When stretched or deformed, condition memory polymers return to their primary shapes soon after heat or light-weight is used. These elements clearly show good promise for gentle robotics, good biomedical products and deployable area structures, but until now they haven’t been ready to shop sufficient power.

Now, scientists reporting in ACS Central Science have designed a condition memory polymer that merchants almost six times far more power than former versions.

An synthetic muscle mass manufactured of a stretched condition memory polymer contracts on heating, bending a mannequin’s arm. Impression credit history: Adapted from ACS Central Science 2021, DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.1c00829

Condition memory polymers alternate involving an primary, undeformed point out and a secondary, deformed point out. The deformed point out is designed by stretching the polymer and is held in put by molecular changes, this sort of as dynamic bonding networks or pressure-induced crystallization, that are reversed with heat or light-weight.

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