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    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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