Proceedings PaperPotential biomedical and commercial applications of cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) self-deployable foam structures
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A cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) foam structure is one of the most recent results of the quest for simple, reliable and low-cost expandable space structures. The CHEM technology utilizes shape memory polymers in open cellular (foam) structure or sandwich structures made of shape memory polymer foam cores and polymeric composite skins. It takes advantage of the polymer’s heat activated shape memory in addition to the foam’s elastic recovery to deploy a compacted structure. The glass transition temperature Tg is tailored to rigidize the structure in the fully deployed configuration. Previous experimental and analytical results were very encouraging and indicated that the CHEM foam technology can perform robustly in space as well as in the Earth environment. CHEM structures are described here and their major advantages are identified over other expandable/deployable structures. Although the space community is the original major beneficiary, a number of potential applications are also anticipated for the “earth environment”. CHEM developers strongly believe that this technology has great promise for a host of commercial and bio-medical applications. Some of these potential and already investigated CHEM applications are described in this paper.