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Keywords:

  • coatings;
  • composites;
  • self-healing;
  • soft robotics;
  • wax

The field of soft robotics has inspired recent mechanical engineering and materials science innovations to enable shape-shifting systems to be developed. This paper presents the design and analysis of a novel thermally tunable composite, namely, a flexible open-cell foam coated in wax that can achieve significant ranges of stiffness, strength, and volume. Experimental results were compared to a proposed model for predicting the bulk compression modulus of the composites. Additionally, preliminary studies indicate that the composites exhibit self-healing properties, in which heating between loading cycles can mend wax that has been plastically deformed, for example, by cracking or delaminating from the foam.mame201400017-gra-0001