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Shape Memory Textiles





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Uploaded on Mar 5, 2008

Designer Mariëlle Leenders has experimented with fabric that features shape memory wire either woven into the material or added later as one or more lines of stitching. Her Moving Textiles (2000) react to differences in temperature by shrinking, creasing, changing structure or rolling up. Lines of stitching added to the basic material in certain places cause the fabric to creep up when temperatures rise.

Fabrics incorporating wire containing shape memory alloys (SMA) vary in form according to changes in temperature. The thin wire is made of an alloy based on nickel and titanium. This metallic material belongs to a group of related substances referred to as shape memory alloys (SMA). They possess the ability to return to some previously defined shape or size when subjected to the appropriate thermal procedure. Generally, the materials can be plastically deformed at some relatively low temperature, after which -upon exposure to some higher or lower temperature they revert to their original shapes. The temperature at which the material changes in form can be programmed precisely at any desired temperature between -50° and + 100°C. Materials that exhibit shape memory only upon heating have a one-way shape memory. A shape memory alloy deformed at a temperature slightly above its transformation temperature has a high degree of elasticity.
When a similar heating process is applied to Moving Textiles, a material that features shape memory wire, the fabric reacts to later changes in temperature (of more than 2.5°C) by shrinking, creasing, changing structure or rolling up. Normal fluctuations in body temperature, therefore, cause no reaction. But clothing made of Moving Textiles can be programmed to respond to the transition from outdoor temperatures to heated indoor spaces. Examples are sleeves that automatically roll up and down, a jacket that opens and closes on its own, and a shirt that expands and contracts in both length and circumference. Other possibilities are blinds that descend when exposed to warm sunlight and roll back up when the temperature drops, moving lampshades, etc. Moving Textiles can be used for both decorative and functional purposes.

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