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A mechanical analysis of chemically stimulated linear shape memory polymer actuation
In the present work, we study the role of programming strain (50% and 100%), end loads (0, 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 MPa), and chemical environments (acetone, ethanol, and water) on the exploitable stroke of linear shape memory polymer (SMP) actuators made from ESTANE ETE 75DT3 (SMP-E). Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) shows how the uptake of solvents results in a decrease in the glass temperature of the molecular switch component of SMP-E. A novel in situ technique allows chemically studying triggered shape recovery as a function of time. It is found that the velocity of actuation decreases in the order acetone > ethanol > water, while the exploitable strokes shows the inverse tendency and increases in the order water > ethanol > acetone. The results are interpreted on the basis of the underlying chemical (how solvents affect thermophysical properties) and micromechanical processes (the phenomenological spring dashpot model of Lethersich type rationalizes the behavior). The study provides initial data which can be used for micromechanical modeling of chemically triggered actuation of SMPs. The results are discussed in the light of underlying chemical and mechanical elementary processes, and areas in need of further work are highlighted.