The development of smart 4D materials using the smart temperature-sensitive polymer
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There is more that can be done with a 3D structure to make them more flexible and more useful: by utilising structures (Smart Polymers) that can transform in a preprogrammed way in response to a stimulus. Thus, giving them an extra dimension and becoming “4D” objects. The 4D printing is a new concept which was proposed to public in 2013. it is fundamentally the same as 3D printing. The difference is the eventually state of fabricated parts can be changed again. In general, the 4D objects can be created using 3D printer to print stimuli sensitive polymers. The stimuli sensitive polymer is a kind of polymer which shape or properties can be altered while a reaction or trigger acts on it, such as temperature change, PH change, moisture change and magnetic change. Because the 4D printing is still in the early phase of the research. To date, the developed 4D objects are mainly used to make simple actuators sensors, toys and electronics parts.
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