Shape Memory Textile 


Shape memory textile is an unique innovation of technical textile.It contains shape memory materials, shape memory polymers,shape memory alloys.

Materials with form memory have the ability to change their shape and cling to it, usually as a result 

of heat. Shape memory materials, including metals, polymers, bi-material film laminates, and 

encapsulated bigels, offer increased adaptability in the protection against temperature extremes 

when incorporated into clothing. The air gap between adjacent layers of clothing widens when the 

shape memory materials are activated in clothes, improving insulation. Shape memory alloys (SMA) 

with differing qualities below and above the activation temperature, or the temperature at which 

they are activated, include nickel-titanium and cuprous-zinc.

Shape-memory polymers (SMPs)

Shape memory polymers 

consist of two polymer 

components and ensuing two 

phases, one with a higher 

\smelting temperature than the 

other . Due to its high molecular 

weight, the first SMP 

polynorborene is difficult to 

tune; hence, styrene butadiene 

SMPs were discovered, but their 

manufacturing technique was 

subpar. SMPs with styrene and 

thermoplastic polyurethane bases have been 

found. The structure, stimilus, and shape-

memory functions of SMPs are clearly depicted 

in figure 2.

In addition to heat, SMPs can also be activated 

by electric, optical, chemical, and magnetic 

fields. They can be programmed in a variety of 

ways, including with many steps. They are soft 

and light enough to be used comfortably on 

human flesh.

Shape-memory alloys (SMAs)

Metals with shape memory exhibit two distinct 

qualities. The first is the shape memory effect, 

which is determined by a material’s capacity.The material distorted or returned to its original shape as a result of the temperature change. 

Superplasticity is the second factor. Material will show significant recoverable stresses in this state. 

There are several different alloy species, however NiTi is currently the most popular alloy in the area. 

It exhibits various behaviors depending on the activation temperature. The alloy can be easily 

deformed below the activation temperature. The alloy exerts force to return to a previously accepted 

shape and stiffens significantly at the 

activation temperature.

Shape memory alloys contain two 

phases known as austenite and 


Comparison between SMA& SMP

Shape memory metal alloys like nitinol were researched before shape memory polymers, however 

the latter have a number of advantages.

They have a much greater capacity for growth than nitinol, for instance, they can double in size rather 

than just grow by about 5%. This size increase allows for the creation of more intricate shapes for a range of applications.

The SMPs also feel softer and have a rubbery consistency, which may make them less likely to harm 

surrounding tissue when used in biomedical equipment, however it is crucial that rigorous safety 

assessments are conducted in such applications.

In comparison to form memory alloys, shape memory polymers are cheaper, denser, and easier to 

produce. Additionally, they occasionally have better mechanical qualities than shape memory alloys.

Application Field

Primary uses for shape memory fabrics Shape memory textiles are used in a variety of contexts. They 

can be utilized as actuators, which makes them very intriguing for soft robotics, where shape memory 

materials powered by other stimuli can partially replace electric actuators. Similar to smart clothing, 

applications in which it is possible to alter the dimensions or orientations of fabric components allow 

for varying pressures to be applied to the human body, useful for everything from sports to the 

treatment of wounds, opening or closing areas to alter air and water vapor permeability, or simply 

producing clothing with high crinkle recovery.

The biological uses, on the other hand, should be mentioned. For instance, stents can profit from the 

ability to be introduced into the body in a smaller shape and be stretched at the desired spot.

Finally, shape memory fabrics open up a wide range of new design opportunities for textiles and apparel.


• High mechanical performances

• High power to weight ratio

• Large deformation

• Large actuation force

• High damping capacity

• High frequency response 

• High wear resistance 

• High corrosion & chemical resistance 

• Low operation voltage 

• High specific strength 

• Compactness & lightness


• Low energy efficiency 

• Complex thermo-mechanical behaviour 

• Expensive materials

• Temperature dependent effect 

• Poor fatgue properties 

• Low operational speed


Form memory Shape memory fibers can be used to create textiles by incorporating shape memory 

wires, adding shape memory polymers via 3D printing, or coating. Despite the growing body of 

research on 4D printing in general, there are still very few articles that discuss the potential for 

adding a shape memory effect to textile textiles to make them smarter, more flexible, or just less 

prone to wrinkles. 

The majority of 

shape memory materials used as fibers, integrated wires, or coatings recover due to thermal stimuli. 

While providing a summary of the preparation and application options for shape memory textiles, 

this paper also seeks to inspire more research in this incredibly intriguing area of study.

Writer’s Information:

Tasnim Tajmi Islam Arjita

Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology

Department of Textile Engineering



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