Current Work: Experimentation with Shape Memory Polymers Using Color and Wire

I have been working on experimenting with incorporation of color and wire into the shape memory polymer matrix.  I would like to create color and shape change as a part of biomimictry sculpture.  To experiment, with color I used a product called Solar Color Dust (1).  This product is a micro encapsulated powder that changes color upon the addition of heat or light.  I mixed the Solar Color Dust in accordance with the instructions on the website:  10 grams to 1 pint of clear base.  The result of the mixing turned out well, the polymer appear to have a hard shape upon removal from the mold.  A picture is given below:

Shape Memory Polymer with Solar Color Dust

Shape Memory Polymer with Solar Color Dust

I also experimented with the addition of Castin’ Craft Transparent Dyes (2).  This is an ether based dye that can be purchased at Hobby Lobby.  A few drops were added to the mold to change the color from clear to blue.  The finished product appears to be pretty flexible at room temperature, it could be due to addition of an ether inferring with the mix ratio of the polymer itself, or other factors.  For future work, I will try using less drops in the polymer.

Shape Memory Polymer with Castin' Craft Dye

Shape Memory Polymer with Castin’ Craft Dye

The last experiment was trying to incorporate wire into the shape memory polymer.  The wire was sunk down into the mold and taped.  However, because of the high temperature cure of the system, the tape was not sufficient to anchor the wire and the wire moved during curing.  Also, the result below is given of the polymer.  Since, the wire was stripped, the excess heat from the wire might have caused the polymer to become very pliable and in turn not hold its shape.

Shape Memory Polymer with Wire Incorporated

Shape Memory Polymer with Wire Incorporated

References:

1.  http://solarcolordust.com/

2.  http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/green-transparent-resin-dye-761650/

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