4D Printing Technology

Most likely, when we think about 4D printing, we do it thinking about the spatial concept, but this idea is not entirely true, since while 4D printing continues on the path of printing objects, and is in fact a variation of 3D printing, the reality is that it has the special ability to print objects using materials that adapt to the environment with which they interact, and according to the reports of specialists, on certain occasions it will be able to repair itself automatically in case of failures or breaks. 4D Printing Technology 4 d printing mit 4d printing

Although  with the 4D printer you can still print all kinds of figures for all areas,  the truth is that this technology was designed and developed to take a step beyond tools, ornaments and prosthetics. The true potential of the 4D printer has been put at the service of science and health. 4 d printing

INTERESTING: What is Hard Technology?

If we had to cite the main difference between 3D printing and 4D printing, we should mention that with regard to the former, it is what is known as additive manufacturing of objects, which means that 3D printing allows convert digital planes into physical objects, for which a 3D printer and the appropriate materials are used to be able to build said objects layer by layer.

In contrast, although 4D printing is based on this technology, the truth is that in this case special materials and sophisticated designs are used, which are basically programmed in order to make 3D printing change its shape. 4 d printing mit 4d printing

For this reason, we could say that in general terms 4D printing is a renewal and expansion of 3D printing, since in the case of 3D printing, once the objects are built they can no longer change, while in 4D printing, Being made with special materials, they allow objects to acquire the quality of changing according to the conditions of the surroundings. 4 d printing mit 4d printing

As we well know, everything concerning printing methods and technologies has until a few years ago had the characteristic of being static, since every time we print a document with a conventional printer or an object with a 3D printer, that document or object it does not have the ability to change its shape. 4 d printing mit 4d printing

Thanks to the technology behind 4D printing, the concept of printing that we knew has changed completely, since today it is possible to print an object that has the quality of mutating into other forms each time it is exposed to certain environmental conditions, including the light, temperature, humidity, cold and so on.

Therefore, we could basically say that the main concept of the 4D printer is to take 3D printing and capacity, but adding the ability to do it using various materials and with special capabilities that allow it, among other things, to transform,  that is, the object made Through this technology it can vary in shape, becoming something different. mit 4d printing

This capacity can be used to print objects by using materials that respond to thermal, kinetic, gravitational, magnetic, pneumatic or other stimuli .

It is important to mention that in order to achieve this transformation after having been created and manufactured, any object printed with 4D technology must have a programmed stimulus or trigger, therefore the materials that will be used in 4D printing will be crucial, since they must be used special materials that can react to this external stimulus.

A Little History

If we review the recent history of 4D printing we will find that it is not really possible to cite the name of a certain inventor of it, although we could say that its main precursor is the designer and scientist Skylar Tibbits. However, the truth is that it is a technology that has been and is currently being developed by various scientists, researchers and companies around the world.

On the contrary, if it is possible to indicate a year in which approximately 4D printing became the object of research, since it was around 2017 when some of the most important companies in the world of printing, as well as various laboratories of research and f abricantes hardware and software began to explore more and more interest this area.

4D printing materials

As we have mentioned, 4D printing technology is currently still in the research and development stage, since although valuable achievements have been made in this regard, the truth is that it is a technology that has a lot to give.

4 d printing
4 d printing

It is true that more and more laboratories and companies around the world are dedicated to the design of prototypes through the use of 4D printing, but it is also true that it is a technology that is still far from the consumer common, mainly due to the type of materials used in this type of printing.

Let us bear in mind that to achieve the objectives that objects printed with 4D technology must meet, the use of special materials is necessary, since these objects must be able to change their shape according to the external stimuli they receive.

In order for these materials to be able to react to specific triggers and modify their shape, of course it is necessary to use special materials that can ultimately react to these triggers, which is why those printed with 4D are programmable objects that can execute a genetic code in the face of certain stimuli.

If we were to review which are the most commonly used 4D printing materials today , we should point out that in most 4D printing systems a network of fibers is used, which can have different variations depending on the properties of the material such as so also its size.

Some of the most common materials in this context are hydro-reactive hydrogel polymers, which basically react on contact with water, thermo-reactive polymers that react to light, cellulose compounds, which in most cases react to temperature and temperature. humidity, digital polymers with shape memory, which allow creating objects which have the quality of being able to change and then regain their original shape , among others.

Also widely used in 4D printing is the material called LCE , which stands for Liquid Crystalline Elastomers, which translated into Spanish would be liquid crystal elastomers. In this case, it is a type of soft material that has the quality of being able to make changes quickly and reversibly, for which they require programming.

The great characteristic of the LCE material lies in the fact that objects made with this material make changes in their molecular chains, which allows them to go from a liquid crystal state to a random isotropic state, when they receive an external stimulus, such as water, fire, light, electricity and so on. In science fiction, we could say that the T1000 from the Terminator saga had basically been manufactured with a material of this type.

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