Shape Memory Polymers
Written by: M Jason Parent
Progress Level: 6+
First introduced in Japan and then the United States 1984, shape memory polymers are polymers whose qualities have been altered to give them dynamic shape "memory" properties. Using thermal stimuli, shape memory polymers can exhibit a radical change from a rigid polymer to a very elastic state, then return back to a rigid state again.
Modern variations on the classic turn-of-the millennium shape memory polymers react to other stimuli than heat.
By the late 2020’s, SMP characteristics can be engineered into almost all polymers, allowing for automobile fenders to be bent back into shape with the application of the right amount of heat; the creation of multiform solid-state furniture that shifts to accommodate different users with the press of a button; and a million other household uses. Some low-rent apartment buildings even use piezo-activated SMPs for the doors on their units so the door can be quickly ‘melted’ with the application of a simple stun-gun-like device.
This short PDF presents over 20 different pieces of equipment, weaponry, armor and day-to-day items that have been made possible due to the 21st Century miracle of shape memory polymers. From knives that change form once inside the victim to new state-of-the-art skateboarding gear.