Two-Way Shape Changes of a Shape-Memory Poly(ester urethane)
Phase-segregated PEU exhibits two-way shape changes under various constant stresses. Most distinct actuation (expansion on cooling and contraction on heating) can be detected between +60 and −20 °C when the maximum stress applied during a thermo-mechanical pretreatment approached the point where deformation-induced crystallization of the PBA soft segment sets in. The driving forces for the strain-related two-way shape changes consist of PBA crystallization and PBA melting-induced entropy elasticity. At low constant stresses (<1.5 MPa), entropy elasticity also contributes to specimen expansion on cooling. The results of multiple- cycling experiments imply that PEU is an appropriate candidate for the fabrication of thermoresponsive actuators working under constant stress conditions.