Yvonne Carts-Powell

Heating morphs material shape

In beautiful, technology on January 14, 2014 at 7:19 am

Most materials expand when heated. Each grows at a characteristic rate. If you attach two materials with different rates of expansion together, then when they heat up, one materials pushes or pulls the other so the bilayer bends. None of that is a surprise: expansion in metal bilayers has been used for many decades in thermometers and thermostats. But a group of researchers at Rice are expanding the concept to new materials, allowing a polymer bilayer to change shape when heated. Because the materials can be used in our bodies, they might be used to carry and then release drugs, or to put a flat device into the body (say, with minimally invasive surgery) that then expands to a 3D structure that could act as a scaffold for cells. Watch the video, or read more about it here: Composite material has mighty potential w/ Video.

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