Manufacturing & Prototyping
4D-Printed Materials Morph from Stiff to Soft and Change Shape
Engineers from Rutgers University have created lightweight, flexible materials with 4D printing that can transform from being as stiff as wood to as soft as a sponge, and also change shape, as temperatures change. 4D printing uses special materials and designs to print objects that then change shape with environmental conditions. The Rutgers engineers tune the materials with heat, so they stay rigid when struck or become soft as a sponge to absorb shock. The stiffness can be adjusted between room temperature and 194 degrees Fahrenheit. These smart materials could be ideal for shock absorption, morphing drone or airplane wings, soft robotics, and implantable biomedical devices.