Robotics & Automation

New Material Uses Magnetic Fields to Twist and Bend into Shapes

Researchers from Georgia Tech  and The Ohio State University have created a magnetic shape memory polymer that uses magnetic fields to change into multiple shapes. The material is a mixture of two types of magnetic particles, one for inductive heat and one with strong magnetic attraction, and of shape-memory polymers that help lock various shape changes into place. It could enable a range of new applications from antennas that change frequencies to robotic gripper arms for delicate or heavy objects. To make the material, the researchers began by distributing particles of neodymium iron boron and iron oxide into the mixture of shape memory polymers. Once the particles were fully incorporated, they then molded that mixture into various objects designed to evaluate how the material performed in a series of applications.