Shape Memory Polymer Nanocomposites
76216-As part of the trend of polymers replacing metals, shape memory polymers (SMPs) are emerging as alternatives to the traditionally used shape memory metals. However, two problems exist: (1) unreinforced SMPs are plagued by low strength and low stiffness; and (2) heat is the only actuation mechanism to which presently available SMPs respond. This project will develop SMP nanocomposites to enhance the mechanical properties and shape memory response, and enable new actuation mechanisms other than external heating. Innovations will be introduced in both the polymer component and the ¿filler¿ component of the SMP nanocomposite, leading to a number of high value added applications. In Phase I, novel composite filler materials will be synthesized, and polymer composites will be fabricated using traditional bulk polymer processing techniques. The structural and mechanical properties will be characterized and compared with existing SMP materials. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The SMP nanocomposites should have numerous commercial applications including construction materials, toys, sporting goods, medical devices, automobiles, and deployable space structures.
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