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New research published in Materials & Design journal applies natural materials to 4D printing for truly bioinspired objects.
In this development, a team from the University of Bristol and University of Bath, creates a 3D printed ink that harnesses cellulose fibers to transform in response to water.
Research - Behavior - Pine - Cones - Groundwork
The research is inspired by the natural behavior of pine cones, and lays new groundwork for the future development of smarter, self-assembling materials.
Timelapse of a pine cone’s transformation in water. Clip via madm4tty on YouTube.
Gen - Materials
4D printing next gen smart materials
As one next-stage development of 3D printing, the term 4D printing has grown in popularity in recent years, even earning itself a position “On the Rise” in Gartner’s 2018 Hype Cycle for 3D Printing.
Printing - Refers - Process - Object - Memory
Put simply, 4D printing refers to a process in which an object is 3D printed to contain shape memory elements. When a stimulus is applied to such an object, it is then capable of transforming into a new shape and, often, returning to its original state afterwards. One example, as used in other 4D printing studies, is 3D printing a flat net of flower petals that, when heated/added to water, close up into a bud.
Many 4D printing experiments rely on tuneable stresses in a 3D printed object to transform. In Bristol/Bath’s case however, it is the exact material composition that allows its 3D printed objects to transform.
Cellulose - Polymer - Earth - Diagram - Fibrils
Cellulose, the most abundant organic polymer on Earth, is highly absorbent. As detailed in the diagram below, cellulose fibrils within the cell walls of a pine cone are responsible for its ability to close when in contact with water.
The process is described in...
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