World’s first 4D printing for ceramics developed
Scientists have successfully developed the world’s first 4D printing for ceramics, that can be used to create complex, shape-changing objects.
4D printing is conventional 3D printing combined with the additional element of time as the fourth dimension, where the printed objects can re-shape or self-assemble themselves over time with external stimuli, such as mechanical force, temperature, or a magnetic field.
- Researchers from the City University of Hong Kong made use of the elastic energy stored in the stretched precursors for shape morphing.
- When the stretched ceramic precursors are released, they undergo self-reshaping.
- After heat treatment, the precursors turn into ceramics.
- Ceramic has a high melting point, so it is difficult to use conventional laser printing to make ceramics.
- The existing 3D-printed ceramic precursors, which are usually difficult to deform, also hinder the production of ceramics with complex shapes.
- To overcome these challenges, researchers developed a novel ceramic ink, which is a mixture of polymers and ceramic nanoparticles.
- The resultant elastomer-derived ceramics are mechanically robust.
- They can have a high compressive strength-to-density ratio, and they can come in large sizes with high strength compared to other printed ceramics.
- With the arrival of 5G networks, ceramic products will play a more important role in the manufacture of electronic products.
- The artistic nature of ceramics and their capability to form complex shapes also provide the potential for consumers to create custom ceramic mobile phone backplates