Issue 1, 2007

Actively moving polymers


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

Article information

Article type
Review Article
24 Jul 2006
18 Oct 2006
First published
14 Nov 2006

Soft Matter, 2007,3, 58-67

Actively moving polymers

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

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity