Creation of Objects That Alter Shape with New 3-D Printing Technique

Three-dimensional printing is one of the most vastly growing fields with numerous applications. Recently, a group of scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and other two organizations has developed a novel 3-D printing technique to make objects that can change permanently in response to heat into a variety of diverse shapes.

The group, which included investigators from the Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, and Singapore University of Technology and Design, fabricated the entities by printing shape memory polymers’ layers with each layer intended to react differently when brought into contact with heat.

Creation of Objects That Alter Shape with New 3-D Printing Technique

Jerry Qi, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech, said “This new technique considerably make things easier and enhances the ability of 4-D printing by integrating the mechanical programming post-processing stage directly into the process of 3-D printing. This enables the designing of the high-resolution 3-D printed elements by computer simulation, 3-D printed, and then directly and quickly altered into new permanent patterns by merely heating.”

The creation of new 3-D printed entities is carry forwarded on basis of previous work the group had done with the use of the smart shape memory polymers, which are capable of memorizing one shape and then alter into another programmed shape when provided with uniform heat, to create items that are capable of folding themselves along axes. To illustrate the potential of new technology, the team created objects that can expand or bend rapidly when plunged in hot water—consisting of a lattice-shaped entity that can enlarge 8 times its original size and a flower model whose petals curved like actual daisy reacting to sunlight.

The team hopes that the novel 4-D objects can make adding of new features to products possible such as permitting products to be rolled or stacked flat for transport and then enlarged once in use. Ultimately, the method can allow elements that can react to stimuli such as moisture, light, or temperature in a way that is specifically timed to make toys, space structures, robots, deployable medical devices, and several other structures.

The 3-D printing has a long way to go with its tremendous applications. What do you think about the same?

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