|Source: Rice University|
Scientists at Rice University have created shape changing, morphing material. The face in the photo takes shape when cooled and goes flat when heat is applied to it. The unique material they've innovated is a rubbery polymer.
Nanoscale Tug of War
At the nanoscale level there's a battle for control between liquid crystals and the elastomer in which they're embedded. When cooled, the shape programmed into the crystal dominates. When heated, the crystals relax and the material goes flat. This innovation was just published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Soft Matter.
This unique material is expected to have significant application for soft robots that morph into different shapes. Also for medical devices that take preprogrammed shape at body temperature. For more news stories on innovation go to amazon.com/author/ekane