A graphic shows the process by which a Rice University lab uses 3D printing to make shapeshifting materials that may be useful to make soft robots or as biomedical implants. Courtesy of the Verduzco Laboratory
Rice advances manufacture of complex shapeshifters for soft robots, biomedical implants
Soft robots and biomedical implants that reconfigure themselves upon demand are closer to reality with a new way to print shape shifting materials.
Rafael Verduzco and graduate student Morgan Barnes of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering developed a method to print objects that can be manipulated to take on alternate forms when exposed to changes in temperature, electric current or stress.
The researchers think of this as reactive 4D printing. Their work appears in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.
They first reported their ability to make morphing structures in a mold in 2018. But using the same chemistry for 3D printing limited structures to shapes that sat in the same plane. That meant no bumps or other complex curvatures could be programmed as the alternate shape.
Overcoming that limitation to decouple the printing process from shaping is a significant step toward more useful materials, Verduzco said.
“These materials, once fabricated, will change shape autonomously,” Verduzco said. “We needed a method to control and define this shape change. Our simple idea was to use multiple reactions in sequence to print the material and then dictate how it would change shape. Rather than trying to do this all in one step, our approach gives more flexibility in controlling the initial and final shapes and also allows us to print complex structures.”
The lab’s challenge was to create a liquid crystal polymer “ink” that incorporates mutually exclusive sets of chemical links between molecules. One establishes the original printed shape, and the other can be set by physically manipulating the printed-and-dried material. Curing the alternate form under ultraviolet light locks in those links.
Once the two programmed forms are set, the material can then morph back and forth when, for instance, it’s heated or cooled.
The researchers had to find a polymer mix that could be printed in a catalyst bath and still hold its original programmed shape.
“There were a lot of parameters we had to optimize — from the solvents and catalyst used, to degree of swelling, and ink formula — to allow the ink to solidify rapidly enough to print while not inhibiting the desired final shape actuation,” Barnes said.
One remaining limitation of the process is the ability to print unsupported structures, like columns. To do so would require a solution that gels just enough to support itself during printing, she said. Gaining that ability will allow researchers to print far more complex combinations of shapes.
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Shape shifting materials
- What if all startup accelerators promote circularity?
What if all startup incubators and accelerators integrated design principles that foster circularity? How will this look like and how will it impact ventures going through these programs? At Impact ...
- 2022 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Guide
KATANA… A CUT ABOVE. Introducing the 2022 Suzuki GSX-R1000… In 1985, Suzuki revolutionized the sportbike category with the introduction of the original GSX-R750, and then created another milestone in ...
- UW Scientist Collaborates to Investigate Protein Shape Shifting
Tyler Gonzalez, a UW graduate student in molecular biology from Bradenton, Fla., works in Thomas Boothby’s laboratory on a machine that uses fluorescence to determine the intactness of sample proteins ...
- 'Shape shifting' US painter Mark Bradford explores racial tensions in Portugal show
In his first major show in Europe in nearly five years, US painter Mark Bradford says he has turned to the mediaeval period to explore contemporary conflicts and social tensions, particularly the ...
- Exploding and weeping ceramics provide path to new shape-shifting material
An international team of researchers from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Kiel University in Germany have discovered a path that could lead to shape-shifting ceramic materials.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Shape shifting materials
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Reactive 4D printing
- RFID market to Reach $25.47 billion by 2030, Globally, at 9.6% CAGR: Allied Market Research
Surge in the installation of RFID solutions in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors and increase in regulations and government initiatives toward the growth of various markets fuel the global ...
- Pharmaceutical Lab Equipment Market Size, sale 2021, drivers, challenges, and their impact on growth and demand forecasts in 2026
Global “ Pharmaceutical Lab Equipment Market” By Type (Pretreatment Type, Reaction Type, Analysis and Test Type), By Application ( Research Institutions, Pharmaceutical Factory) Geography ...
- Setting up at home
Now for the science: A 4D in-line horizontal engine for outstanding graphics ... or 12 ppm (mono). Up to 9600 x 600 dpi printing with Automatic Image Refinement (AIR); good because 300 dpi is the ...
- Polymer discovery gives 3D-printed sand super strength
(Nanowerk News) Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed a novel polymer to bind and strengthen silica sand for binder jet additive manufacturing, a 3D-printing ...
- Pressure Calibrators Market Splendid Growth with an Impressive CAGR Changing Business Needs
Industry Share Advanced 3D/4D Visualization Systems Market Is Projected to Grow Massively in Near Future Adhesive Equipment Market Future Scope, Demand, Perceptive and Comprehensive Analysis By ...