Thermomechanics of shape memory polymers: Uniaxial experiments and constitutive modeling

Published

Journal Article

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) can retain a temporary shape after pre-deformation at an elevated temperature and subsequent cooling to a lower temperature. When reheated, the original shape can be recovered. Relatively little work in the literature has addressed the constitutive modeling of the unique thermomechanical coupling in SMPs. Constitutive models are critical for predicting the deformation and recovery of SMPs under a range of different constraints. In this study, the thermomechanics of shape storage and recovery of an epoxy resin is systematically investigated for small strains (within ±10%) in uniaxial tension and uniaxial compression. After initial pre-deformation at a high temperature, the strain is held constant for shape storage while the stress evolution is monitored. Three cases of heated recovery are selected: unconstrained free strain recovery, stress recovery under full constraint at the pre-deformation strain level (no low temperature unloading), and stress recovery under full constraint at a strain level fixed at a low temperature (low temperature unloading). The free strain recovery results indicate that the polymer can fully recover the original shape when reheated above its glass transition temperature (Tg). Due to the high stiffness in the glassy state (T < Tg), the evolution of the stress under strain constraint is strongly influenced by thermal expansion of the polymer. The relationship between the final recoverable stress and strain is governed by the stress-strain response of the polymer above Tg. Based on the experimental results and the molecular mechanism of shape memory, a three-dimensional small-strain internal state variable constitutive model is developed. The model quantifies the storage and release of the entropic deformation during thermomechanical processes. The fraction of the material freezing a temporary entropy state is a function of temperature, which can be determined by fitting the free strain recovery response. A free energy function for the model is formulated and thermodynamic consistency is ensured. The model can predict the stress evolution of the uniaxial experimental results. The model captures differences in the tensile and compressive recovery responses caused by thermal expansion. The model is used to explore strain and stress recovery responses under various flexible external constraints that would be encountered in applications of SMPs. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Liu, Y; Gall, K; Dunn, ML; Greenberg, AR; Diani, J

Published Date

  • February 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 279 - 313

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0749-6419

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ijplas.2005.03.004

Citation Source

  • Scopus