Researchers from China’s Zhejiang University have developed a new type of polymer that can be caused to revert to multiple different forms on demand. The polymer can form itself into many different shapes, by combining two ingredients - one with elastic deformation properties and one with plastic deformation properties. Current polymers tend to have the former property, which is useful for some limited applications. But what has really been needed is a polymer capable of plastic deformation, where it is re-shaped permanently without having to resort to melting due to covalent bond exchange. In addition to a high degree of programmability, the new polymer also demonstrated toughness - it could be caused to change in to multiple different shapes over and over again without cracking or degrading. The researchers believe the new material could likely be used in medical applications, in shape-shifting electronics, or aboard spacecraft.