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Memory chromic polyurethane with tetraphenylethylene


Correspondence to: J. Hu (E-mail:


This article reports a chromic polymer, which is responsive to its shape memory properties and has both the behavior of shape memory polymers and chromic materials. We employed a strategy to fabricate such a smart material, which represents a new principle for making chromic materials. This material is made of shape memory polyurethane with tetraphenylethylene units (0.1 wt %) covalently connected to the soft-segments (PCL, Mw = 4000). The material displays biocompatibility, shape fixity of 88–93%, and almost 100% shape recovery and has reversible mechanochromic, solvatochromic, and thermochromic shape memory effect. The memory chromism represented by the reversible change of emission intensity shows negative correlation with shape fixity, temperature, and existence of solvent. It may be explained that when the soft segments are molten or dissolved in solvent, the shape recovery switch is open, the AIE units are free from crystal binding and can migrate easily to larger areas, thus the AIE units/particles are far apart from each other and the barrier for rotation of phenyl groups is reduced, which lead to the reduction of emission intensity, appeared by no colors or pale colors, and vice versa. Since the switch is a fundamental structural character of SMPs, the shape memory properties have led to the chromism and we call this memory chromic. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci. Part B: Polym. Phys. 2014, 52, 104–110