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Architectural Engineering

Magnetic Shape Memory Polymer Development

Will a magnetic shape-changing memory polymer have any applications in the architectural engineering industry? We are interested in monitoring developments of this new technology and its uses to find out.

Research and Development

A recent Science Daily article summarized the development of a “a soft polymer material, called magnetic shape memory polymer, that uses magnetic fields to transform into a variety of shapes. The material could enable a range of new applications from antennas that change frequencies on the fly to gripper arms for delicate or heavy objects.”

This polymer combines magnetic particles and shape memory polymers to adjust and solidify into various shapes. The system can lock the material in place but also reverse and reprogram the material as needed. In research using a gripper arm, once the polymer changed shape, it was able “to lift objects up to 1,000 times its own weight.”

Another amazing fact about this material is the magnetic fields are only required during the phase where the material is changing shape. Once it is locked into a new shape, it will remain there without using any energy to maintain the shape. 

This research was sponsored by the National Foundation of Science, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Department of Energy.

Innovation at OEI
We maintain our status as a leader in the civil and architectural engineering industry by seeking continuous improvement. Competence and continuous improvement are two of our firm’s core foundations. We strive for excellence in all we do. This includes knowledge of current trends in the industry as well as researching new materials and techniques, and how they apply to our specific services. We are excited to see if and how this magnetic shape memory polymer might impact our work in the future. As research continues, perhaps it will have architectural engineering application. Stayed tuned…