‘Action-at-a-distance’ metamaterials for soft robotics, developed by TU Delft researchers (video)

soft robotics

Action-at-a-distance’ metamaterials for soft robotics, developed by TU Delft researchers

Mechanical metamaterials are a sub-category of designer materials where the geometry of the material at the small-scale is rationally designed to give rise to unusual properties and functionalities. Here, we propose the concept of “action-at-a-distance” metamaterials where a specific pattern of local deformation is programmed into the fabric of (cellular) materials. The desired pattern of local actuation could then be achieved simply through the application of one single global and far-field force. We proposed graded designs of auxetic and conventional unit cells with changing Poisson’s ratios as a way of making “action-at-a-distance” metamaterials.
We explored five types of graded designs including linear, two types of radial gradients, checkered, and striped. Specimens were fabricated with indirect additive manufacturing and tested under compression, tension, and shear. Full-field strain maps measured with digital image correlation confirmed different patterns of local actuation under similar far-field strains. These materials have potential applications in soft (wearable) robotics and exosuits.

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Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water ( VIDEO)

polymer

Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water

As 3-D printing has become a mainstream technology, industry and academic researchers have been investigating printable structures that will fold themselves into useful three-dimensional shapes when heated or immersed in water.

In a paper appearing in the American Chemical Society’s journal Applied Materials and Interfaces, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and colleagues report something new: a printable structure that begins to fold itself up as soon as it’s peeled off the printing platform.

One of the big advantages of devices that self-fold without any outside stimulus, the researchers say, is that they can involve a wider range of materials and more delicate structures. Continue reading “Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water ( VIDEO)”

TU Delft researchers develop self-twisting of DNA-inspired constructs (VIDEO)

self-twisting of DNA-inspired constructs

TU Delft researchers develop self-twisting of DNA-inspired constructs. Researchers at TU Delft have made flat surfaces that are 3D printed and then ‘taught’ how to self- fold later. The materials are potentially very well suited for all kinds of medical implants. They report on their findings in the October 24th edition of Materials Horizons which features this research on its cover.

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New 3D-printed material technology lets objects be both hard and soft (Video)

3D-printed material

New 3D-printed material technology lets objects be both hard and soft. Recently, researchers started to engineer not only the outer shape of objects, but also their internal microstructure. Such objects, typically based on 3D cell grids, are also known as metamaterials. Metamaterials are artificial structures with mechanical properties that are defined by their usually repetitive cell patterns, rather than the material they are made of. Continue reading “New 3D-printed material technology lets objects be both hard and soft (Video)”

New shape-changing smart material developed by Washington State University researchers (Video)

smart material

Washington State University researchers have developed a unique, multifunctional smart material that can change shape from heat or light and assemble and disassemble itself. They have filed a provisional patent on the work.

This is the first time researchers have been able to combine several smart abilities, including shape memory behavior, light-activated movement and self-healing behavior, into one material. They have published their work in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Continue reading “New shape-changing smart material developed by Washington State University researchers (Video)”

Researchers optimize 4D polymer printing with photochemical microreactor

Researchers optimize 4D polymer printing with photochemical microreactor. A team of researchers at the University of Miami has developed a 4D printing system using a massively parallel flow-through photochemical microreactor. The extra “dimension” comes from the 3D printer’s ability to precisely control the monomer composition of each feature in a brush polymer array. Continue reading “Researchers optimize 4D polymer printing with photochemical microreactor”

4D-Printed Structures that React to Water, Developed by Harvard Researchers (Video)

4D-Printed Structures that React to Water, Developed by Harvard Researchers .A team of scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has evolved their microscale 3-D printing technology to the fourth dimension, time.

Inspired by natural structures like plants, which respond and change their form in response to environmental stimuli, the team has unveiled 4D-printed hydrogel composite structures that change shape when immersed in water. Continue reading “4D-Printed Structures that React to Water, Developed by Harvard Researchers (Video)”