A bioinspired and hierarchically structured shape-memory material

Journal: Nature Materials

Published: 2020-08-31

DOI: 10.1038/s41563-020-0789-2

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 10

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Research Highlight

Wool-like material springs back to its initial shape

© DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

© DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

A wool-like fabric that reverts to its initial shape when placed in water could find use in the clothing industry.

A team that included two researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a material based on keratin — a protein found in hair and nails — that remembers its initial shape.

The researchers shaped the material using a three-dimensional printer and then fixed it by dipping it in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and monosodium phosphate. They then reshaped the material while it was submerged in water. This shape consolidated on drying, but the material reverted to its initial shape when put back into water.

The material, which was made from recycled wool, could be used in a wide range of applications, including clothing that fits the wearer.

Supported content

  1. Nature Materials 20, 242–249 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41563-020-0789-2
Institutions Share
Harvard University, United States of America (USA) 0.70
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea 0.20
Sogang University, South Korea 0.10

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