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Remote actuation of light activated shape memory polymers via D-shaped optical fibres

: Herath, M.; Epaarachchi, J.; Islam, M.; Zhang, F.; Leng, J.; Fang, L.; Yan, C.; Peng, G.D.; Schade, W.


Smart materials and structures : SMS 29 (2020), Nr.4, Art. 047001, 8 S.
ISSN: 0964-1726
ISSN: 1361-665X
Fraunhofer HHI ()

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) and their composites (SMPCs) can hold a programmed temporary shape and recover to their original shape once exposed to a particular external stimulus. The stimulus light has the advantage of being both an excitation energy source and a control signal carrier for remote actuation of SMP materials. Here we present the capability of D-shaped optical fibres to send near infrared (NIR) light into a light activated shape memory polymer composite (LASMPC) which generates the adequate photothermal effect necessary for the shape recovery process of relatively large samples. A D-shaped optical fibre enables dispersion of light through the polished area around the fibre than the dispersion of light through the tip of the fibre. Embedment of a D-shaped optical fibre in a LASMPC creates a single unit smart actuator, which can be remotely activated by light. Remotely controllable smart actuators can be located at any difficult to reach positions and controlled safely with light energy. It would be a breakthrough technology for biomedical, aerospace and many other engineering applications.