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29 March 2010 Shape memory polymer sensors for tracking cumulative environmental exposure
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Cornerstone Research Group Inc. (CRG) has developed environmental exposure tracking (EET) sensors using shape memory polymers (SMP) to monitor the degradation of perishable items, such as munitions, foods and beverages, or medicines, by measuring the cumulative exposure to temperature and moisture. SMPs are polymers whose qualities have been altered to give them dynamic shape "memory" properties. Under thermal or moisture stimuli, the SMP exhibits a radical change from a rigid thermoset to a highly flexible, elastomeric state. The dynamic response of the SMP can be tailored to match the degradation profile of the perishable item. SMP-based EET sensors require no digital memory or internal power supply and provide the capability of inexpensive, long-term life cycle monitoring of thermal and moisture exposure over time. This technology was developed through Phase I and Phase II SBIR efforts with the Navy. The emphasis of current research centers on transitioning SMP materials from the lab bench to a production environment. Here, CRG presents the commercialization progress of thermally-activated EET sensors, focusing on fabrication scale-up, process refinements, and quality control. In addition, progress on the development of vapor pressure-responsive SMP (VPR-SMP) will be discussed.
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Ryan Snyder, Michael Rauscher, Ben Vining, Ernie Havens, Teresa Havens, and Jace McFerran "Shape memory polymer sensors for tracking cumulative environmental exposure", Proc. SPIE 7645, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2010, 76450C (29 March 2010);

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