The Shape Memory Phenomenon: An Intrinsic Feature of Materials after Programming

Naturally, all materials are able to response to some particular stimuli via changing their one or more chemical/physical properties accordingly. Among these properties, the ability for shape change can be harnessed for motion and/or force generation. There are two basic ways to response to the present of the right stimulus (such as heating/cooling, light, chemical/solvent etc), one is spontaneous (either instantly in an elastic manner or gradually in a viscous-elastic fashion, while the other requires additional driving force by means of applying the right external stimulus to trigger recovery back to the original shape. Correspondingly, the former phenomenon is called the shape change effect (SCE), while the latter is called the shape memory effect (SME).

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