4D printing is developing. Now it’s possible to build furniture and disguise-changing tanks using 4d printers. 4D-printing makes it possible for 3D printed stuff to be self-disguised, for example, by changing the absorbing qualities of the stuff. This would enable change of shape when contacting water.
Just think of the time when there’s no need for you to waste time assembling furniture. Alternatively, the table you bought will immediately open out while you watch TV. Today US Army Research Office is doing its best to provide this opportunity by giving an $855.000 grant for 4D-printing development.
4D printing is similar to 3D printing which uses the process like a laser printer creating a solid object from a number of layers the next one printed on top of the previous. However 4D printing takes one step ahead letting 3D printed stuff to be assembles in various shapes with time.
This technology was inspired by nature. The latter is capable of replicating itself in return to external conditions. 4D printing is likely to change the process of construction and manufacture and would make it easier to build in severe conditions.
The US Army Research Office expects 4D printing technology to create materials that would let cars change their structure or army tissue that would change its camouflage.
Scientists from the three leading universities – the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the University of Illinois that have been awarded research grant – will carry out research to handle materials at micro and nano levels so as to create through 3D printing materials that would vary their structure with time. They suggest creating biomimetic composites that would change their physical properties according to the external stimulus.
They also suggest that while 3D printing helps build in complex functionality, 4D printing would allow doing the same thing within certain areas of structure instead of the whole structure.
By creating responsive materials researchers make it possible to create cloth that would change its colour in response to light or that would harden its structure due to some external force. Thus they’re speaking of creating materials light, strong, supple and adaptive at the same time. All these peculiarities make 4D printing a crucial turning point.
How do 3D printing and 4D printing differ?
3D printing technology works in the same way as laser printing creating solid objects from a number of layers.
4D printing takes one step ahead making 3D printed stuff capable of changing their shape with time.
For instance by changing the abilities to absorb water, an object could change its shape when contacting water. 4D printing is likely to change the process of construction and manufacture and would make it easier to build in severe conditions.