Biomimetic 4D Printing

January 26, 2016

Simple flowers composed of 90°/0° bilayers oriented with respect to the long axis of each petal, with time-lapse sequences of the flowers during the swelling process (bottom panel). [Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature Materials ©2016]

Professors L. Mahadevan and Jennifer Lewis, and a team of scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have evolved their microscale 3D printing technology to the fourth dimension, time. Inspired by natural structures like plants, which respond and change their form over time according to environmental stimuli, the team has unveiled 4D-printed hydrogel composite structures that change shape upon immersion in water. (Read the press release by Kat J. McAlpine, Wyss Institute Communication.)

The team has reported its findings in Nature Materials: A.S. Gladman, E.A. Matsumoto, R.G. Nuzzo, L. Mahadevan & Jennifer A. Lewis, "Biomimetic 4D printing," Nature Materials (2016) doi:10.1038/nmat4544