Shape memory foams

Prof. Michael S. Silverstein | Materials Science and Engineering


Chemistry and Materials

The Technology

A lightweight material which can undergo significant reversible and reproducible changes in its dimensions upon the application of temperature as a stimulus. The technology is based on a shape memory porous polymers synthesized using Pickering high internal phase emulsions (HIPEs). The technology offers a wide range of possible stimulus temperatures and mechanical properties through variations in the monomer and in the HIPE composition. It can be distinguished from other shape memory foams in: (a) the use of the side chain melting point as the mechanism for controlling the temperature stimulus rather than the glass transition temperature or the melting point of the main chain; (b) the use of emulsion tempting to produce the porous structure and not chemical foaming or salt leaching; (c) the use of a crosslinked elastomeric main chain structure for shape restoration.


  • Uniqueness: few examples of shape memory porous polymers and no examples of shape memory polyHIPEs
  • Wide range of properties due to tunable chemistry

Applications and Opportunities

  • Biomedical applications: implanting a compressed material, which requires smaller incision, and, once in position, expansion to the full, space-filling size through the application of temperature
  • An actuator that works through thermal stimulus
  • A healing material whose dimensions can be changed following damage (aerospace, automotive or building industries)
arrow Business Development Contacts
Shikma Litmanovitz
Director of Business Development, Physical Science