Functional Fatigue of Shape-Memory Polymers


The present study represents a first step towards an understanding of what we refer to as the functional fatigue behaviour of shape-memory polymers. These materials have a processing shape B and a programmed shape A [1]. And when the material is exposed to an appropriate stimulus (in our case: heating above a critical temperature), a one way effect is observed: A → B (one way effect: 1WE). The objectives of the present study were to find out whether and how often programming can be repeated, whether repeated programming affects the 1WE and how much irreversible strain the material accumulates. We study the effect in dependence of different stress levels, and consider the effect of recovery temperature and recovery time. As a model material we examine the commercial amorphous shape-memory polymer Tecoflex® and subject it to 50 programming/1WE cycles. It turns out that programming, cooling, unloading and heating to trigger the 1WE causes an increase of irreversible strain and is associated with a corresponding decrease of the intensity of the 1WE in particular during the first thermomechanical cycles.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    M. Behl and A. Lendlein, materials today 10, 20 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    M. Behl and A. Lendlein, Soft Matter 3, 58 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    H. Koerne, G. Price, N. Pearce, M. Alexander and R. A. Vaia, Nat. Mater. 2, 115(2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    P. R. Buckley, G. H. McKinley, T. S. Wilson, W. Small IV, W. J. Benett, J. P. Bearinger, M. W. McElfresh and D. J. Maitland, IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 53, 2075 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    S. V. Ahir and E. M. Terentjev, Nat. Mater. 6, 491 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Y. Wang, Y. Hu, X. Gong, W. Jiang, P. Zhang and Z. Chen, J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 103, 3143 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    T. J. Luand and A. G. Evans, Sens. Actuators A 99, 290 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    K. D. Harris, C. W. M. Bastiaansen and D. J. Broer, J. Microelectromech. Syst. 16, 480 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    J. Hu, in Shape Memory Polym. and Textiles (Woodhead Publishing Limited and CRC Press LLC), (2007).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    K. Neuking, A. Abu-Zarifa, S. Youcheu-Kemtchou and G. Eggeler, Adv. Eng. Mat. 7, 1014 (2005).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    A. Lendlein and S. Kelch, Angew. Chem. 114, 2138 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    A. J. Coury, P. C. Slaikeu, P. T. Cahalan, K. B. Stokes, C. M. Hobot, J. Biomater. Appl. 3, 130 (1988)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    P. Miaudet, A. Derré, M. Maugey, C. Zakri, P. M. Piccione, R. Inoubli, P. Poulin, Science 318, 1294 (2007)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    R. Mohr, K. Kratz, T. Weigel, M. Lucka-Gabor, M. Moneke, A. Lendlein, PNAS 103, 3540 (2006).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    A. Reddy, E. Arzt, A. del Campo, Adv. Mater. 19, 3833 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    R. E. Solis-Correa et al., J. Biomater. Sci. Polymer Edn. 18, 561 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    N. M. K. Lamba, K. A. Woodhouse, S. L. Cooper, in Polyurethanes in Biomedical Applications (CRC Press), (1998).

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors acknowledge funding through project B3 of the collaborative research centre SFB459 (shape-memory technology) funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the State North Rhine Westphalia (NRW).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Christina Schmidt.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Schmidt, C., Neuking, K. & Eggeler, G. Functional Fatigue of Shape-Memory Polymers. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1190, 0302 (2009).

Download citation