Presented at the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) 255th National Meeting & Exposition, a powerful printer has been developed by researchers that could fast-track the usage of 4D printing in industries such as medicine and aerospace. The formation of self-assembling structures is expected to be streamlined with the use of this printer. These structures are the ones that could change shape due to exposure to stimuli such as heat. H. Jerry Qi, Ph.D. had said that he and his colleagues are at the verge of producing a new generation of devices that holds the ability to significantly extend 4D and 3D printing’s practical applications.
Printer to Simplify and Expedite Processes Used in Traditional 3D Printing
There are several features integrated in the prototype printer of the researchers that seems to expedite and simplify conventional 3D printing processes. This could help to produce soft and hard components simultaneously with the use of a range of materials and perform direct incorporation of conductive wiring into structures that change shape. And eventually, it could prepare a platform for developing a multitude of 4D products able to reshape the world.
Prior to creating an all-in-one printer capable of addressing 4D printing challenges, the researchers had been involved in creating 4D objects that could change shape up to a 90% quicker than previously possible. Coming back to the machine they devised eventually, it combines four different printing techniques, viz. fused deposition modeling, direct ink write, inkjet, and aerosol. The printer is also capable of creating electrical wiring that could be directly printed onto an electrical device such as a sensor or an antenna.