Shape memory polymers can be triggered to assume memorized shapes from temporarily deformed forms using thermal stimuli. This paper focuses on the characterization of the shape memory behaviors observed in selected 3D printable photo-cured polymer parts and filament with specified fillers. The shape recovery ratio and recovery time were analyzed using 3D printed specimens with 90° bends. Parts with the mixture of selected commercially available polymers — a rigid polymer (RP) and two digitally mixed polymer blends (DB-A and DB-B) were 3D-printed on a multi-material 3D printer capable of producing digital materials with variable mix ratios. The recovery ratios were determined after thermal triggering and after long-term creep (self-recovery) without thermal triggering. The 3D printed parts were heated to above their glass transaction temperature to train temporary shapes and the recovery of original shapes after a thermal trigger was monitored using a high-resolution camera. Long-term self-recovery (non-triggered) was also studied by observing the parts after temporary shape has been trained, as the try to regain their original shape over several days of slow recovery. The recovery of bending angles was quantitatively recorded from the images taken during the shape recovery process. The recovery due to thermal triggers was monitored under a high resolution microscope by reheating with hot water at 90°C. Experiments of long-term self-recovery at room temperature included monitoring of several parts by taking periodic images of the specimens using a resolution camera. The effect of inclusion of fillers on the shape recovery characteristics was also investigated. Silicon Carbide (SiC) with different weight fractions were mixed into PLA powders. Continuous filaments were extruded using a single screw extruder. The recovery time of thermal activation recovery was then characterized to determine the effect of addition of the fillers. The effect of material-mix ratio, initial printed orientation, filler type on the recovery ratio and recovery time are described in this paper.

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