Smart Materials are the latest rage in the world of science. Instead of finding ways of connecting regular materials with complex systems, the researchers are now focusing on connecting smart materials with regular systems.
This not only saves them a lot of time and energy, but also gives the designs a lot more versatility when it comes to potential types of uses.
While these smart materials are great in doing what they are built to do, they still however are quite limited in terms of carrying out multiple functions.
This makes them difficult to manufacture at a mainstream level, as it would take several different types of materials to create more complex systems capable of doing different types of things.
Now, researchers at Washington State University have found a way of surpassing this barrier by creating a material that can both change shape, as well as assemble and disassemble itself.
To make this possible, they used a combination of materials and processes, many of which are activated through exposure to heat and light.
The process of making these smart materials begins with the use of Liquid Crystalline Networks (LCNs), which can change their shape back and forth, depending on the temperature applied.
The LCNs were then processed further with Azobenzene, a material which can change it’s orientation in response to different wavelengths of light.
To make sure that the material can be reprocessed with ease, it is them treated further by adding dynamic chemical bonds.
Through all these processes, the researchers are able to create a material that can be programmed at a molecular level to behave differently to different forms of stimuli.
The creation of such materials is the kind of breakthrough that was needed for furthering the creation of complex systems with multiples uses.