Sunday, April 6, 2014

4D Printing using Shape Memory Materials - 2013-2014 Articles to date

4D: There has been so much on this topic lately. Here are a few in a group of a few first 4D printing research projects, using shape memory materials. There are many more, but all originate from these below. There are essentially 2 sources, the original ones to label "4D", MIT and 10 months later, University of Colorado.

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The following's original post can be found here in 'DVICE':

MIT's 4D printing tech makes objects assemble themselves

Credit: MIT
2D printing makes things that are flat. 3D printing makes things that have volume. Add in the fourth D, time, and you make things that move. We're not talking about things that can be be moved, but rather, objects that come printed with the capacity to move all by themselves.
MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab has been working on ways to print things in 3D that can change their shape after they've been printed. Routinely printing something as complex as a motor or an actuator is still a ways off, but by mixing different kinds of smart materials, it's possible to get stuff to move on its own, albeit very slowly and (so far) in just one direction.
The process is actually not that complicated, and the smart materials aren't even all that smart: all it takes is a material that acts like a sponge that can be layered inside of a joint during the 3D printing process. When the joint is submerged in water, the sponge material expands and the joint bends. Put a bunch of joints together, and you can get a fairly complex self-assembling object, like this cube:
(in the following locations)

  • 4D PrintingCube Self-Folding Strand - YouTube
    Mar 2, 2013 - Uploaded by dailyalternativenews
    4D PrintingCube Self-Folding Strand Video ...
  • 4D PrintingCube Self-Folding Strand on Vimeo

    Feb 3, 2013
    In a collaboration between Stratasys' Education, R&D departments and MIT's Self-Assembly Lab, a new ...
  • 4D PrintingSelf-Folding Strand | MIT Video

    A collaboration between Stratasys & The Self-Assembly Lab at MIT, which

  • In this case, water is acting as the energy source that activates the printed smart material, but different materials can use light, heat, vibrations or even sounds. Imagine one day going to IKEA and buying a table made out of this stuff that you can hose down in your front yard to get it to self-assemble. Or, with some sound activated smart material, all you'll have to do is scream at it loud enough and it'll put itself together. Since most of us do this with our IKEA furniture anyway, it seems as though adding in the smart self-assembly bit is the logical and obvious next step.


    The following's original post can be found here in 'Softpedia':

    4D Printing: For Real-Life Shapeshifting Armors and Smart Clothes – Video

    4D Printing currently at nano level
    Enlarge picture
    We live in a three-dimensional world, so one might wonder what on earth brainiacs could possibly mean by a fourth dimension. As it happens, there is one, and they're about to make use of it.

    In the realm of machines subject to computer numerical control (CNC Milling/Machining), the fourth dimension, or fourth axis, is the rotation of either the tool or the part around the other.

    Normally, it's not all that important from what angle the material is deposited during 3D printing or other manufacturing techniques.

    In the end, the fourth dimension is a degree of freedom to move in space, not a new way to do it linearly.

    In layman terms, that means that, in certain situations, materials can gain the ability to change shape or other physical characteristics.

    So the United States Army Research Office has begun to look into ways of harnessing the fourth dimension, starting off with an investment of $855,000 / €632,000.

    Three scientists have been chosen, from Harvard, the University of Pittsburgh, and The University of Illinois.

    Their task? Invent 4D printing, where the finished products have the ability to change in order to adapt to the environment or user requirements.

    Obviously, since this is a military project, the ultimate goal is to design shapeshifting or at least adaptive armors and clothing, preferably with built-in technological means of communication or survival.

    The ability to alter permeability, color and hardness would mean that there would be no need to change outfits when shifting focus from cooling to structural protection or camouflage.

    This will be done by embedding smart materials that can respond to charge, light, temperature, etc. The base matrix holding everything together would be a hydrogel, also of smart material. The change is intended to be automatic, instead of having it listen to commands, but it might take a while to achieve that much.

    It will take ages, actually, to go even from nanoscopic to microscopic proof-of-concept.

    The other ideas for what 4D printing should be are along the lines of printing parts that then move within themselves (like a developing embryo) or move like a robot. Chances are that microdroplet printing will be used to combine the benefits of all these techniques.

    The videos related to this piece can be found here:

    1. 3D printing has grown in sophistication since the late 1970s; TED Fellow Skylar Tibbits is shaping the next development, which he calls4D printing, where ...
      Skylar Tibbits, a TED Fellow, is an artist and computational architect working on "smart" components that can assemble themselves. Full bio


    The following's original post can be found here in 'Product Design and Development':

    4D Printing Technology for Composite Materials

    Tue, 10/22/2013 - 1:48pm
    Jerry Qi, University of Colorado at Boulder

    Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have successfully added a fourth dimension to their printing technology, opening up exciting possibilities for the creation and use of adaptive, composite materials in manufacturing, packaging, and biomedical applications.
    A team led by H. Jerry Qi, associate professor of mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder, and his collaborator Martin L. Dunn of the Singapore University of Technology and Design has developed and tested a method for 4D printing. The researchers incorporated "shape memory" polymer fibers into the composite materials used in traditional 3D printing, which results in the production of an object fixed in one shape that can later be changed to take on a new shape.
    "In this work, the initial configuration is created by 3D printing, and then the programmed action of the shape memory fibers creates time dependence of the configuration – the 4D aspect," said Dunn, a former CU-Boulder mechanical engineering faculty member who has studied the mechanics and physics of composite materials for more two decades.
    The 4D printing concept, which allows materials to "self-assemble" into 3D structures, was initially proposed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty member Skylar Tibbits in April of this year. Tibbits and his team combined a strand of plastic with a layer made out of "smart" material that could self-assemble in water.
    "We advanced this concept by creating composite materials that can morph into several different, complicated shapes based on a different physical mechanism," said Dunn. "The secret of using shape memory polymer fibers to generate desired shape changes of the composite material is how the architecture of the fibers is designed, including their location, orientation and other factors."
    The CU-Boulder team's findings were published last month in the journal Applied Physics Letters. The paper was co-authored by Qi "Kevin" Ge, who joined MIT as a postdoctoral research associate in September.
    "The fascinating thing is that these shapes are defined during the design stage, which was not achievable a few years ago," said Qi.
    The CU-Boulder team demonstrated that the orientation and location of the fibers within the composite determines the degree of shape memory effects like folding, curling, stretching or twisting. The researchers also showed the ability to control those effects by heating or cooling the composite material.
    Qi says 3D printing technology, which has existed for about three decades, has only recently advanced to the point that active fibers can be incorporated into the composites so their behavior can be predictably controlled when the object is subjected to thermal and mechanical forces.
    The technology promises exciting new possibilities for a variety of applications. Qi said that a solar panel or similar product could be produced in a flat configuration onto which functional devices can be easily installed. It could then be changed to a compact shape for packing and shipping. After arriving at its destination, the product could be activated to form a different shape that optimizes its function.
    As 3D printing technology matures with more printable materials and higher resolution at larger scales, the research should help provide a new approach to creating reversible or tunable 3D surfaces and solids in engineering like the composite shells of complex shapes used in automobiles, aircraft and antennas.

    The following's original post can be found here in 'Design News':

    Materials & Assembly

    4D Printing Self-Assembled Shapes Using Shape Memory Plastics

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