Shape memory Polymer

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Definition

A shape memory polymer, trade name veriflex, that returns to its straight shape upon heating after it is twisted.

A shape memory polymer is a polymer that can be deformed, only to undergo a conformational change back to its original 'memorized' form upon application of some external stimulus, such as temperature (most typically), electricity, magnetism, light, or pH. It occurs by a polymer being able to undergo strain induced phase changes. What this means is that a polymer is set in a form by conventional methods, then when deformed, the microstructure undergoes a phase change. When the stimulus is applied, such as temperature, the phase then transfers back to the original phase, reconforming and relieving the strain in the process.

Applications

Epoxy has basically limitless applications and can be seen in fields ranging from aerospace to electronics. They are used as both electrical insulators when alone, and also electrical conductors when combined with silver. They are used architecturally as a material for walls, ceilings, and especially floors. They can be used as paint. They are also used for fastening bolts, and as castings. Moreover, epoxy as been used as a medium for art.

Economics

Epoxy is often used in the developing world for its uses in building. In fact, China accounts for 30% of the worldwide usage of epoxy ($15 billion world wide). The three largest producers of Epoxy are Hexion, Dow Chemical, and Huntsman's Corporation for Advanced Materials. Each of these companies allow the epoxy to be easily tuned for adhesive and mechanical properties using a variety of chemicals in addition to the basic monomers, such as things to increase or reduce viscosity.

References

http://pslc.ws/macrog/epoxy.htm

and other info gathered from a google search of "epoxy", including company websites.