Shape memory polymers : the wave of the future or a passing fad?
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New materials always have the possibility of revolutionizing manufacturing processes and the way we live. Bronze, steel alloys, vulcanized rubber, ceramics, and fiber optic cables are just of few of the materials man has discovered which improved his quality of life. One of the more recent additions to the field of material science are materials that exhibit what is known as the shape memory effect. Both metals and synthetic polymers can acquire this property through processing and chemistry. However while shape memory polymers hold a lot of promise, it will require more research and development to make them affordable and useful in large scale applications.