A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and The Ohio State University has developed a soft polymer material, called magnetic shape memory polymer, that uses magnetic fields to transform into a variety of shapes.
The material could enable a range of new applications from antennas that change frequencies on the fly to gripper arms for delicate or heavy objects.
The material is a mixture of three different ingredients, all with unique characteristics: two types of magnetic particles, one for inductive heat and one with strong magnetic attraction, and shape-memory polymers to help lock various shape changes into place.
“This is the first material that combines the strengths of all of these individual components into a single system capable of rapid and reprogrammable shape changes that are lockable and reversible,” said Jerry Qi, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.
The research, which was reported Dec. 9 in the journal Advanced Materials, was sponsored by the National Foundation of Science, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Department of Energy.
Source: “Tiny magnetic particles enable new material to bend, twist, and grab”, John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology