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Title: Shape memory investigation of alpha-keratin fibers as multi-coupled stimuli of responsive smart materials
Authors: Xiao, XL 
Hu, JL 
Gui, XT 
Qian, K
Issue Date: 2017
Source: Polymers, Mar. 2017, v. 9, no. 3, 87, p. 1-15
Abstract: Like the water responsive shape memory (SM) effect of beta-keratin bird feathers, alpha-keratin hairs either existing broadly in nature are found responsive to many types of coupled stimuli in SM behaviors. In this article, alpha-keratin hairs were investigated for the combined stimuli of thermo-solvent, solvent-solvent, and UV (radiation)-reductant sensitive SM abilities. The related netpoints and switches from the hair molecular networks were identified. The experimental results showed that alpha-keratin hairs manifested a higher ability of shape fixation under thermal stimulus followed with the stimuli of solvent and UV-radiation. Shape recovery from the hair with a temporarily fixed shape showed a higher recovery ability using solvent than the stimuli of heat and UV-radiation. The effects of coupled stimuli on hair's shape fixation and recovery and on variations of the crystal, disulfide, and hydrogen bonds were studied systematically. A structural network model was thereafter proposed to interpret the multi-coupled stimuli sensitive SM of alpha-keratin hair. This original study is expected to provide inspiration for exploring other natural fibers to reveal related smart functions and for making more types of remarkable adapted synthetic materials.
Keywords: Alpha-keratin fiber
Coupled stimuli
Shape memory
Network model
Publisher: Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
Journal: Polymers 
ISSN: 2073-4360
DOI: 10.3390/polym9030087
Rights: © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
The following publication Xiao, X. L., Hu, J. L., Gui, X. T., & Qian, K. (2017). Shape memory investigation of alpha-keratin fibers as multi-coupled stimuli of responsive smart materials. Polymers, 9(3), (Suppl. ), 87, - is available at
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