4D printing makes objects that assemble themselves when heated

Added by David Hill on April 22 2017, at 5:48 am
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  • A new 4D-printing technique that creates complex structures in minutes could be used to make temperature-activated cardiac stents, drug capsules and flat-pack furniture.

    4D printing creates 3D objects that change their shape over time in response to stimuli such as heat, moisture or light. It is useful for making structures that can adapt to their environment, but is often a laborious process. The most common materials used in 4D printing, shape-memory polymers, normally require at least five steps to make them into adaptable objects. Hydrogels are simpler to use, but too soft to fashion into rigid structures.

    Zhen Ding at the Singapore University of Technology and Design and his colleagues have now developed a way to rapidly print rigid 4D objects with a commercial 3D printer and a heat source.




    They created a variety of objects, including a delicate flower that closes its petals, a flat star shape that morphs into a dome, and lattices that contract and elongate. The structures were made from flat 3D-printed strips that were then heated to make them curve.

    The strips, which can be printed in less than a minute, are made from layers of a stiff shape-memory polymer paired with a rubbery elastomer – a polymer with elastic properties.

    When heated to 45°C, the shape-memory polymer component relaxes and allows the elastomer to bend. As the strip cools, the shape-memory polymer stiffens again and locks the object into its new, curved configuration.

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  • PaulChau

    I'm definitely interested to see if I can get my hands on an article like that for my self storage business. I would definitely want to see how I could use such technologies to help my clients get their self storage units organized - perhaps even with helping them visualise storage shelving inside their storage units huh?

    7 hours ago
  • Armstrong Smith
    Armstrong Smith

    Welcome to, the home of low cost, hi-definition print with beautiful design from local studios. Flyer Printing

    June 22, 2017