The effect of 4D printed internal structure on the shape memory effect of shape memory polymers

by Jiwoo Choi, Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London

One way to 4D print is through the use of Shape Memory Polymers (SMP). these are a type of polymer which react to an external stimulus (e.g. temperature) and subsequently change their shape in a programmed manner. Previous 4D printing research has focused on different material properties (chemistry) or geometric shape (size, thickness etc.) to control its morphing behaviour.

This research is investigating the possibility of creating novel shape memory behaviours by altering the internal structure of SMP object; without changing the global shape or material chemistry of the part. This research demonstrates that new types of shape memory effects, such as two-phased transformations, can be created. This provides the opportunity to generate various shape memory behaviours from a single part, maintaining its external appearance and employing a single material.


What drives you?
To see smart materials and 4D printed devices used to build a smarter more innovative world.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
Currently, the uses of shape memory polymers are severely limited for industrial applications. My research shows a novel approach in controlling the shape memory effect of SMPs and their potential impact on industries.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Though smart materials were introduced decades ago, its impact on industry has been severely limited. However, with AM developments, novel structural innovation and material combinations can be fabricated nowadays, and it will have great potential in the long-run.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Creating functional parts (such as actuators) in a minimised assembly.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Developing a 4D printing library for various industries to build functional parts, structural optimisation to achieve sustainable shape memory effect and QC in 3D printed components are critical.

About Jiwoo Choi

Jiwoo Choi is a product designer, technologist and inventor. He worked as a technology consultant at several companies. He is currently doing a PhD research at Dyson School of Design Engineering in Imperial College London about shape memory polymer-based 4D printing research. His current primary interest is introducing new technologies and innovative materials into engineering and product design industry.

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