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Polymers 2017, 9(3), 87; doi:10.3390/polym9030087

Shape Memory Investigation of α-Keratin Fibers as Multi-Coupled Stimuli of Responsive Smart Materials

1
Institute of Textiles and Clothing, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
2
Key Laboratory of Eco-Textiles, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chih-Feng Huang
Received: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionally Responsive Polymeric Materials)
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Abstract

Like the water responsive shape memory (SM) effect of β-keratin bird feathers, α-keratin hairs either existing broadly in nature are found responsive to many types of coupled stimuli in SM behaviors. In this article, α-keratin hairs were investigated for the combined stimuli of thermo-solvent, solvent-solvent, and UV (radiation)-reductant sensitive SM abilities. The related netpoints and switches from the hair molecular networks were identified. The experimental results showed that α-keratin hairs manifested a higher ability of shape fixation under thermal stimulus followed with the stimuli of solvent and UV-radiation. Shape recovery from the hair with a temporarily fixed shape showed a higher recovery ability using solvent than the stimuli of heat and UV-radiation. The effects of coupled stimuli on hair’s shape fixation and recovery and on variations of the crystal, disulfide, and hydrogen bonds were studied systematically. A structural network model was thereafter proposed to interpret the multi-coupled stimuli sensitive SM of α-keratin hair. This original study is expected to provide inspiration for exploring other natural fibers to reveal related smart functions and for making more types of remarkable adapted synthetic materials. View Full-Text
Keywords: α-keratin fiber; coupled stimuli; shape memory; network model α-keratin fiber; coupled stimuli; shape memory; network model
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Xiao, X.; Hu, J.; Gui, X.; Qian, K. Shape Memory Investigation of α-Keratin Fibers as Multi-Coupled Stimuli of Responsive Smart Materials. Polymers 2017, 9, 87.

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