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.
“This work represents an elegant advance in programmable materials assembly, made possible by a multidisciplinary approach,” said Jennifer Lewis, senior author on the new study. “We have now gone beyond integrating form and function to create transformable architectures.”
Lewis is a core faculty member at the Wyss Institute and the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at SEAS. Another Wyss core faculty member, L. Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, and professor of physics at Harvard University and SEAS, is a co-author on the study. Their team also includes co-author Ralph Nuzzo, the G.L. Clark Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.