SMPs) are polymeric smart materials that can return from a deformed state (temporary shape) to their original (“permanent” or “memorized”) shape by application of an external stimulus, such as temperature or light change. However, a drawback of SMP systems, especially for biomedical applications, is a lack of mechanical strength and modulus once the material has undergone its shape change from its temporary shape to its permanent shape.
A University of Colorado research team led by Christopher Bowman has developed a novel dual-cure shape memory polymer system which has the capacity for high strains and deformation at the end of the Stage 1 cure, but produces a final polymeric device with high modulus and stiffness at the end of a Stage 2 cure. This system is appropriate for all applications that can exploit SMP systems, including biomedical applications in orthopedics, dental materials, stents, and endovascular coils. The unique properties of these materials also enable the introduction of refractive index gradients, or patterns, into the final polymer; applications of these optical properties include optical interconnects and manufacture of contact lenses, among others.
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