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Issue 1, 2007
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Actively moving polymers

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Abstract

The ability of polymers to move actively in response to an external stimulus such as heat or light is of high scientific and technological significance. In any instance stimuli-responsive effects on the molecular level are converted into macroscopic movement, whereby generally two different moving behaviors have to be differentiated for polymer-based materials: the shape-memory effect and the shape-changing capability. Basic concepts for the molecular design of suitable polymer architectures for shape-memory polymers as well as tailored programming processes are presented. The thermally-induced shape-memory effect of polymers is described as well as the extension of this concept to other stimuli than heat. Indirect actuation of the thermally-induced effect by IR-irradiation, electric current, humidity or alternating magnetic fields are outlined as well as recent work on light-induced shape-memory polymers. For shape-changing polymers, two basic concepts are presented: shape changes occurring during phase orientation of liquid crystal elastomers (LCE) and the photomechanical effect based on photoisomerization of moieties, such as azo-groups incorporated in suitable polymer systems.

Graphical abstract: Actively moving polymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Jul 2006, accepted on 18 Oct 2006 and first published on 14 Nov 2006


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/B610611K
Citation: Soft Matter, 2007,3, 58-67
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    Actively moving polymers

    M. Behl and A. Lendlein, Soft Matter, 2007, 3, 58
    DOI: 10.1039/B610611K

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