A plastic that remembers
A new thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) developed by Bayer MaterialScience together with the BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin, Germany, shows that plastics can also have a memory.
Parts made of such a plastic can be temporarily reshaped and fixed in this shape. When heated to a certain temperature known as the switching temperature, they “remember” their original shape and return to it virtually unchanged. In the case of the new product Desmopan® DP 2795A SMP, the switching temperature is approximately 40 °C. The abbreviation SMP stands for the English designation for such plastics: Shape Memory Plastics.
“Given this special property, there are virtually no limits to the potential applications for the plastic,” says Jürgen Hättig, Head of Business Development for TPU at Bayer MaterialScience. “We can imagine applications in areas ranging from mechanical engineering and the automotive, textile, sports and leisure industries to toy manufacturing and aerospace engineering.” Possible applications include the easy repair of damaged bodywork parts using a hair dryer, remote temperature sensors, artificial muscles, hinges, self-loosening screws, packaging and shrink tubing.
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