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Bioinspired Mechanically Adaptive Polymer Nanocomposites with Water-Activated Shape-Memory Effect

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New biomimetic, stimuli-responsive mechanically adaptive nanocomposites, which change their mechanical properties upon exposure to water and display a water-activated shape-memory effect, were investigated. These materials were produced by introducing rigid cotton cellulose nanowhiskers (CNWs) into a rubbery polyurethane (PU) matrix.

Perspectives

This effect is the result of competitive hydrogen bonding between water and CNWs, which reduces the hydrogen bonding between the CNWs and weakens the CNW network that drives the reinforcement in the dry state. The mechanically adaptive behavior and high elasticity of the wet materials are the basis for a shape-memory effect that uses water as the stimulus. Polarized Raman spectroscopy revealed that in the temporary shape, generated by stretching and drying water-swollen nanocomposites, the CNWs display a significant level of uniaxial orientation.

Dr Pratheep K Annamalai
University of Queensland

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This page is a summary of: Bioinspired Mechanically Adaptive Polymer Nanocomposites with Water-Activated Shape-Memory Effect, Macromolecules, September 2011, American Chemical Society (ACS), DOI: 10.1021/ma201502k.
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