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Polymers 2017, 9(3), 113;

Epoxy-Based Shape-Memory Actuators Obtained via Dual-Curing of Off-Stoichiometric “Thiol–Epoxy” Mixtures

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Av. Països Catalans 26, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
Department of Chemical, Materials and Production Engineering, University of Naples “Federico II”, Piazzale Tecchio, 80, 80125 Napoli, Italy
Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials, National Research Council of Italy, Via Campi Flegrei, 34, 80078 Pozzuoli, Italy
Thermodynamics Laboratory, ETSEIB, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Av. Diagonal 647, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jinlian Hu, Rui Xiao and Chih-Feng Huang
Received: 14 February 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionally Responsive Polymeric Materials)
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In this work, epoxy-based shape-memory actuators have been developed by taking advantage of the sequential dual-curing of off-stoichiometric “thiol–epoxy” systems. Bent-shaped designs for flexural actuation were obtained thanks to the easy processing of these materials in the intermediate stage (after the first curing process), and successfully fixed through the second curing process. The samples were programmed into a flat temporary-shape and the recovery-process was analyzed in unconstrained, partially-constrained and fully-constrained conditions using a dynamic mechanical analyzer (DMA). Different “thiol–epoxy” systems and off-stoichiometric ratios were used to analyze the effect of the network structure on the actuation performance. The results evidenced the possibility to take advantage of the flexural recovery as a potential actuator, the operation of which can be modulated by changing the network structure and properties of the material. Under unconstrained-recovery conditions, faster and narrower recovery-processes (an average speed up to 80%/min) are attained by using materials with homogeneous network structure, while in partially- or fully-constrained conditions, a higher crosslinking density and the presence of crosslinks of higher functionality lead to a higher amount of energy released during the recovery-process, thus, increasing the work or the force released. Finally, an easy approach for the prediction of the work released by the shape-memory actuator has been proposed. View Full-Text
Keywords: dual-curing; shape-memory polymer; actuator; thiol–epoxy; click chemistry; unconstrained; partially-constrained; fully-constrained dual-curing; shape-memory polymer; actuator; thiol–epoxy; click chemistry; unconstrained; partially-constrained; fully-constrained

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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Belmonte, A.; Russo, C.; Ambrogi, V.; Fernández-Francos, X.; De la Flor, S. Epoxy-Based Shape-Memory Actuators Obtained via Dual-Curing of Off-Stoichiometric “Thiol–Epoxy” Mixtures. Polymers 2017, 9, 113.

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