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Researchers from Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a 3D printing material that can be pre-programmed with reversible shape memory capabilities.
The Harvard team’s novel filament consists of two chains of keratin arranged into spring-like structures that have been twisted together. Once combined into a ‘coiled coil,’ the material is capable of being changed into any shape before returning to its original formation in a ‘shape memory effect.’
Given that the team’s biocompatible material was created using recycled wool, the polymer also has potential ecological benefits as well as applications in the medical prosthesis and textile sectors.
“With this project, we have shown that not only can we recycle wool but we can build things out of the recycled wool that have never been imagined before,” said Kit Parker, senior author on the paper. “With recycled keratin protein, we can do just as much, or more, than what has been done by shearing animals and, in doing so, reduce the environmental impact of the textile and fashion industry.”
A growing demand for shape-memory materials
The number of applications for shape-memory materials has increased exponentially in recent years. Companies in the …
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