A finite element method for light activated shape-memory polymers

Craig M. Hamel, Fangda Cui, Shawn A. Chester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Shape-memory polymers (SMPs) belong to a class of smart materials that have shown promise for a wide range of applications. They are characterized by their ability to maintain a temporary deformed shape and return to an original parent permanent shape. In this paper, we consider the coupled photomechanical behavior of light activated shape-memory polymers (LASMPs), focusing on the numerical aspects for finite element simulations at the engineering scale. The photomechanical continuum framework is summarized, and some specific constitutive equations for LASMPs are described. Numerical implementation of the multiphysics governing partial differential equations takes the form of a user defined element subroutine within the commercial software package ABAQUS. We verify our two-dimensional and three-dimensional finite element procedure for multiple analytically tractable cases. To show the robustness of the numerical implementation, simulations are performed under various geometries and complex photomechanical loading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-473
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Numerical Analysis
  • General Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Petrov–Galerkin
  • finite element methods
  • multifield systems
  • radiative transfer
  • shape-memory polymer
  • solids


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