ew shape memory polymer based on a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) has been released with the ability to "remember" its original shape when heated to a certain temperature. Developed by Bayer MaterialScience and the BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Desmopan DP 2795A SMP has a switching temperature of approximately 40°C, with proposed applications including remote temperature sensors, artificial muscles, hinges, self-loosening screws, packaging, and shrink tubing.
Bayer and BAM recently submitted a patent application for a possible application in what they call "functional film tunnels and self-erecting structures." The concept being that film tunnels in a field act like greenhouses and accelerate the growth of vegetables so they can be harvested sooner than is possible if they were grown under the open sky. The companies point out that while it is easy to lay flat films on a field, erecting a permanent tunnel with films can be a time-consuming and costly operation.