A smart orthopedic compression device based on a polymeric stress memory actuator

Bipin Kumar, Jinlian Hu, Ning Pan, Harishkumar Narayana

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In current practice of compression therapy, there has been a challenge of compression controlling and need for multiple devices to achieve different functions. Herein, the potential of a thermal-sensitive memory polymer, namely, polyurethane (MPU), is explored in designing a prototype that acts as a flexible bandage system to provide dual benefits (heat and pressure) simultaneously for a desired compression. After preconditioning, the thermomechanical behavior of the MPU becomes repeatable and consistent, which can be programmed to remember (store) and retrieve reversibly a prescribed internal stress, responsive to an external stimulus around its transition temperature (Ttrans). The smart bandage system is then built using the MPU actuator which integrates electric resistive wires as both a heat source for thermal therapy and stimulus for trigger control. The compression can also be easily switched between static and dynamic (massage) modes using a pro-set thermal stimulus. This paper also addresses several challenging issues and design considerations for the prototype. Theoretical analyses have been applied to predict the device performance, showing excellent agreement with experimental results. This work sheds insights for broadening the applications of stress memory and for engineering smart products needing stimulus responsive forces such as dynamic cushions, pressure garment and electronic actuators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-229
Number of pages8
JournalMaterials and Design
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2016


  • Bandage
  • Compression therapy
  • Massaging
  • Polyurethane
  • Pressure
  • Shape memory polymer
  • Stress memory
  • Venous disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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