To better understand shape memory materials and self-healing materials, a new series of liquid-crystalline shape memory polyurethane (LC-SMPU) composites, named SMPU-OOBAm, were successfully prepared by incorporating 4-octyldecyloxybenzoic acid (OOBA) into the PEG-based SMPU. The effect of OOBA on the structure, morphology, and properties of the material has been carefully investigated. The results demonstrate that SMPU-OOBAm has liquid crystalline properties, triple-shape memory properties, and self-healing properties. The incorporated OOBA promotes the crystallizability of both soft and hard segments of SMPU, and the crystallization rate of the hard segment of SMPU decreases when the OOBA-content increases. Additionally, the SMPU-OOBAm forms a two-phase separated structure (SMPU phase and OOBA phase), and it shows two-step modulus changes upon heating. Therefore, the SMPU-OOBAm exhibits triple-shape memory behavior, and the shape recovery ratio decreases with an increase in the OOBA content. Finally, SMPU-OOBAm exhibits self-healing properties. The new mechanism can be ascribed to the heating-induced “bleeding” of OOBA in the liquid crystalline state and the subsequent re-crystallization upon cooling. This successful combination of liquid crystalline properties, triple-shape memory properties, and self-healing properties make the SMPU-OOBAm composites ideal for many promising applications in smart optical devices, smart electronic devices, and smart sensors.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited