What is 4D Printing? | The B1M

What is 4D Printing? | The B1M


In a nutshell 4D printing refers to 3D printed
objects that have the ability to reshape or self-assemble over time. Now we recognise
that’s quite a complicated “nutshell” to get your head around so here’s a bit
more detail. 4D printing was born out of the Self-Assembly
Lab established by Skylar Tibbits at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT. It was a concept
he developed alongside Stratasys and Autodesk. It involves strategically positioning rigid
and expandable materials next to each other within one 3D printed component. When the
expandable materials come into contact with water, they grow to up to 200% of their original
volume, changing their shape and effectively repositioning the rigid materials either side
of them. The expandable materials effectively create
joints in the component that are activated in certain conditions, causing the entire
component to adopt a different form. Depending on the expandable material used, the contact
substance necessary for it to change shape could be water, or it could be heat, light
or a range of other simple energy inputs. Software enables components to be programmed
on screen before they are created and for that data to have effectively been programmed
into the component once it has been created. Going beyond this range of small-scale demonstration
pieces, it’s thought the technology could be used in some form of self-repairing water
pipes, in pipework that changes size in relation to water flow or in hot and cold temperature
water valves. Beyond plumbing it also has potential in medicine,
clothing and footwear that adapts to climatic conditions or in childcare products that respond
to temperature changes. If you enjoyed this video and would like to
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