Thermally actuated shape-memory polymers: Experiments, theory, and numerical simulations

Vikas Srivastava, Shawn A. Chester, Lallit Anand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


With the aim of developing a thermo-mechanically coupled large-deformation constitutive theory and a numerical-simulation capability for modeling the response of thermally actuated shape-memory polymers, we have (i) conducted large strain compression experiments on a representative shape-memory polymer to strains of approximately unity at strain rates of 10-3 and 10 -1 s-1, and at temperatures ranging from room temperature to approximately 30 °C above the glass transition temperature of the polymer; (ii) formulated a thermo-mechanically coupled large-deformation constitutive theory; (iii) calibrated the material parameters appearing in the theory using the stress-strain data from the compression experiments; (iv) numerically implemented the theory by writing a user-material subroutine for a widely used finite element program; and (v) conducted representative experiments to validate the predictive capability of our theory and its numerical implementation in complex three-dimensional geometries. By comparing the numerically predicted response in these validation simulations against measurements from corresponding experiments, we show that our theory is capable of reasonably accurately reproducing the experimental results. As a demonstration of the robustness of the three-dimensional numerical capability, we also show results from a simulation of the shape-recovery response of a stent made from the polymer when it is inserted in an artery modeled as a compliant elastomeric tube.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1100-1124
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Constitutive behavior
  • Finite elements
  • Mechanical testing
  • Polymeric materials
  • Shape-memory phenomenon


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