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Issue 46, 2013
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Bidirectional actuation of a thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer

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Herein, we report on how to teach a thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer completely stress-free, bidirectional motion. Briefly spoken, we applied training, consisting of extensive tensile deformation in the specimen's viscoelastic state, initiating deformation-induced crystallization. Once unloaded, thermo-reversible specimen expansion and contraction could be detected. Following the microstructural evolution of such a trained specimen by in situ wide-angle X-ray scattering gave evidence for progressive growth of oriented crystallites during cooling. Upon heating, crystallite melting resulted in structural disorder. Beyond this, modification of the training method was used to introduce a geometrically more complex crystalline order. Here, actuation in the form of a decrease and an increase in sample thickness and specimen twisting and untwisting were witnessed. The novel semi-crystalline polymer actuator highlights an enormous potential for realizing versatile reversible shape changes in elastomers.

Graphical abstract: Bidirectional actuation of a thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer

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Article information

28 Aug 2013
01 Oct 2013
First published
22 Oct 2013

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013,1, 14491-14497
Article type

Bidirectional actuation of a thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer

M. Bothe and T. Pretsch, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013, 1, 14491
DOI: 10.1039/C3TA13414H

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