SLA Technology Used for Shaping Memory Polymers for the First Time.While 3D printing is currently poised at the forefront of technology, 4D printing is nipping right at its heels. This next dimension in fabrication is really just 3D printing accentuated with the use of smart materials such as shape memory polymers (SMPs) that can be reformed into new shapes, and then counted on to revert back to their original shapes when an external stimulus, such as heat, is applied. (We’ve written a lot about 4D printing in the past, and you can find a quick, good overview here.)
One area that hasn’t seen much from SMPs is that of flexible electronics, due to inadequate processing techniques. A group of researchers from the Casali Center for Applied Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are in the process of integrating SMPs into the flexible electronics field, using 3D printing.
Matt Zarek, Michael Layani, Ido Cooperstein, Ela Sachyani, Daniel Cohn and Shlomo Magdassi have, for the first time, used an SLA 3D printer to make shape memory polymers. Until now, 4D printing has used low-level extrusion printers or high level multi-jet printers. The researchers at the Casali Center, by using an Asiga Pico Plus39 DLP SLA printer, were able to print SMPs at higher resolution than the more commonly used printers are capable of doing.
Below is a video of a dragon printed during the study, reverting to its original shape under heat stimulus at 70° C, at a 16x real speed: