4D Textiles: 3D printed hybrid textiles for shape change and self assembly – Presented by David Schmelzeisen, Insitut für Textiltechnik der RWTH Aachen University

David Schmelzeisen

4D Textiles: 3D printed hybrid textiles for shape change and self assembly – Presented by David Schmelzeisen, Insitut für Textiltechnik der RWTH Aachen University at the 3rd edition of 4D Printing & Meta Materials Conference, which takes place on 18 April 2018 at Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen, The Netherlands.

Textile materials combined with 3D printing technology create the opportunity to explore “4D Textiles” – hybrid systems that can change form and/or function with the application of relatively small external energy. 4D printing is currently explored with the use of smart materials allowing a 3D printed structure to change form under the application of heat. Hybrid textiles are being explored with the use of elastic knitted fabrics and 3D printing to create interesting shapes formed by the stored elastic energy in the textile.

There has been rapid growth in research regarding 3D printing in recent years driven by the low cost and material efficiency of the technology. Combining 3D printing and textile materials is still a relatively new research area. However it is a growth area that offers the promise of “4D Textiles” – hybrid textile/3D printed structures that can change structural form with time.

4D Textiles explore the interaction of elastic textiles and 3D printing, wherein the textile is pre-stretched prior to printing, and after the printing is complete the fabric strain causes curvature in the assembly for example.
The underlying concept behind these hybrid material systems is to store energy in the textile material prior to printing and then release that energy to affect form and function of the hybrid system. Typically knitted fabrics that contain elastic material are used due to the high elastic strain available and sufficient recovery force.
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