Shape memory polymers (SMPs), a typical class of smart materials, have been witnessed significant advances in the past decades. Based on the unique performance to recover the initial shape after going through a shape deformation, the applications of SMPs have aroused growing interests. However, most of the researches are hindered by traditional processing technologies which limit the design space of SMPs-based structures. Three-dimension (3D) printing as an emerging technology endows design freedom to manufacture materials with complex structures. In present article, we show that by employing direct-write printing method; one can realize the printing of SMPs to achieve 4D active shape-changing structures. We first fabricated a kind of 3D printable polylactide (PLA)-based SMPs and characterized the overall properties of such materials. Results demonstrated the prepared PLA-based SMPs presenting excellent shape memory effect. In what follows, the rheological properties of such PLA-based SMP ink during printing process were discussed in detail. Finally, we designed and printed several 3D configurations for investigation. By combining 3D printing with shape memory behavior, these printed structures achieve 4D active shape-changing performance under heat stimuli. This research presents a high flexible method to realize the fabrication of SMP-based 4D active shape-changing structures, which opens the way for further developments and improvements of high-tech fields like 4D printing, soft robotics, micro-systems and biomedical devices.
Hongqiu Wei, Qiwei Zhang, Yongtao Yao, Liwu Liu, Yanju Liu, and Jinsong Leng, "Direct-write fabrication of 4D active shape-changing behavior based on a shape memory polymer and its nanocomposite (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10167, Nanosensors, Biosensors, Info-Tech Sensors and 3D Systems 2017, 101671C (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 28, 2017; Published: 11 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2261735.5427412096001.
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