In a new study, 3D printing of Shape Memory Polymers has been described to produce active meta-materials capable of being programmed in order to create versatile shapes and also recover their original state when heated to more than their activation temperatures.
This groundbreaking combination of 3D printing, thermoviscoelastic meta-materials, and programmable design to produce 4D shape-transforming structures has been reported in an article published in 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, which is a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Until December 2, 2017, the article is available free on the 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing website.
In the article entitled "Large Shape Transforming 4D Auxetic Structures", Marius Wagner, Tian Chen, and Kristina Shea, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, present the details of their experimental design, fabrication method, and the results of simulation studies to assess the transformational behavior of the meta-materials. The researchers have successfully demonstrated that the active meta-materials are capable of achieving large area changes of up to 200% within a programming and recovery cycle. One particular example shows the fabrication of a multi-letter-based structure that is later programmed into a jumbled circular shape and capable of regaining its original structure on temperature-based activation.
This work provides a significant step forward in 4D printing capabilities and is a wonderful example of the blending together of materials, mechanics, and design to enable such beautiful results,
Skylar Tibbits, Editor-in-Chief , Director, Self-Assembly Lab, MIT, and Founder & Principal, SJET LLC.