Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have successfully added a fourth dimension to their printing technology, opening up exciting possibilities for the creation and use of adaptive, composite materials in manufacturing, packaging and biomedical applications. The team incorporated “shape memory” polymer fibers into the composite materials used in traditional 3D printing, which results in the production of an object fixed in one shape that can later be changed to take on a new shape.
The CU-Boulder researchers demonstrated that the orientation and location of the fibers within the composite determines the degree of shape memory effects like folding, curling, stretching or twisting. The researchers also showed the ability to control those effects by heating or cooling the composite material.
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