Students in Year 12 have been investigating smart and modern materials this week. A smart material is one that reacts to changes in the environment; for example, heat, light, pressure etc. Polymorph is a thermoplastic but also a smart material, it responds to heat as an external stimulus and has a relatively low melting point and a long working time. It comes as small white granules/beads which can be added to hot water, causing the beads to melt together at 63oC, thus forming a translucent putty-like
consistency. At this stage, with some careful handling, polymorph can be shaped into all sorts of different forms although it is particularly useful for shaping an ergonomic grip, taking into account anthropometric data.
In order to explain and demonstrate this concept, students created an ergonomic grip for a basic toothbrush considering how each person’s grip and position changes whilst brushing their teeth. Once cooled, polymorph forms a white solid plastic that is both robust and durable. Students worked well to produce their own unique and highly personalised toothbrush and were keen to try them out at home!