4D Printing Makes Objects That Assemble Themselves When Heated
April 12, 2017
(New Scientist) – 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.