Shape-shifting Meets 3D Printed Objects

MIT and collaborators have come up with a way to create 3D printed structures that "remember" their original shape despite being bent.


As if 3D printing isn't cool enough, there’s new research underway to produce  3D structures that can “remember” their original shape despite being bent or twisted at extreme angles.

An article in Tech Times describes efforts by collaborators at MIT and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to use light to print special 3D structures, which within seconds of being heated to a specific temperature, bounced right back to their original form. The scientists devised a method called microstereolithography to print micron-scale features, which a co-author of the research, Qi “Kevin” G, described as essential for printing 3D memory-shape polymers intended to change shape and form when confronted with external stimuli such as light, electricity or heat.

Such memory-shape structures could be used in myriad applications, the researchers say, from drug delivery services to actuators that shift solar panels toward the sun.

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