The term "shape memory effect" refers to the ability of a material to be deformed and fixed into a temporary shape, and to recover its original, permanent shape upon an external stimulus (1). Shape memory polymers have attracted much interest because of their unique properties, and applied tremendously in medical area, such as biodegradable sutures, actuators, catheters and smart stents (2, 3). Shape memory usually is a thermally induced process, although it can be activated by light illumination, electrical current, magnetic, or electromagnetic field (4-6). During the process, the materials are heated directly or indirectly above their glass transition temperature (Tg) or the melting temperature (Tm) in order to recover the original shape. Non-thermally induced shape memory polymers eliminate the temperature constrains and enable the manipulation of the shape recovered under ambient temperature (7, 8). Herein, we report a novel strategy of water induced shape memory, in which the formation and dissolution of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) crystal is utilized for the fixation and recovery of temporary deformation of hydrophilic polymer. This water-induced shape recovery is less sensitive to temperature, of which 95% deformation is fixed in circumstance and over 75% recovery is reached even at 0 oC.
Shape Memory, Biodegradable, Biomaterials, Poly(Ethylene Glycol), Crystal
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