AUG 19, 2018 01:57 AM PDT

4D Printing Ceramic Systems

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Image Credit: CGTrader.com

Ceramics have a high melting point which makes it difficult to be produced by conventional lasers. Additionally, ceramic production by existing 3D-printing methods make it challenging to deform and create the complex shapes.

Fortunately, researchers at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have developed the first-ever 4D printing for ceramics. The 4D printing are mechanically robust and can have complex shapes; a breakthrough for in the structural application of ceramics. CityU research team have created a novel “ceramic ink” through 3D printed ceramic precursors consisting of polymers and ceramic nanoparticles. The flexible ceramic precursors, using proper heat treatments, allow the complexity of these shapes such as origami folding. In other words, 4D printing ceramics can be thought of as conventional 3D printing combined with time as the 4th dimension; allowing objects printed to re-shape and self-assemble.

In particular, the research examines the use of elastic energy stored in the stretched precursors as an application for shape morphing. When stretched, ceramic precursors are released as they undergo self-reshaping and then when heated, these precursors become ceramics.

"The whole process sounds simple, but it's not," explains Professor Lu, research team leader and distinguished materials scientist. "From making the ink to developing the printing system, we tried many times and different methods. Like squeezing icing on a cake, there are a lot of factors that can affect the outcome, ranging from the type of cream and the size of the nozzle, to the speed and force of squeezing, and the temperature."

The research team took roughly three years to develop a 4D ceramic printing systems and to overcome the challenges of existing materials. Ideally, the 4D ceramic printing system has one promising application and it includes electronic devices particularly in the arrival of 5G networks, this is because ceramic is known to transmit electromagnetic signals more effectively than metallic signals. Additionally, the artistic characteristics of ceramics provide the ability to make uniquely-tailored ceramic mobile phone back. "With the versatile shape-morphing capability of the printed ceramic precursors, its application can be huge!" says Professor Lu, who believes the next step will include enhancing the systems mechanical properties for further applications. "Since ceramic is a mechanically robust material that can tolerate high temperatures, the 4D-printed ceramic has high potential to be used as a propulsion component in the aerospace field.”

The study on 4D printing ceramic systems, "Origami and 4D printing of elastomer-derived ceramic structures" has been published in the latest issue of Science Advances.

Source: City University of Hong Kong

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JUN 19, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
JUN 19, 2018
New, Non-toxic Technique to Synthesize DNA
Researchers have figured out a way to synthesize DNA with a natural enzyme, and their approach is easy, fast and accurate....
JUL 13, 2018
Technology
JUL 13, 2018
Watch: HEXA Robot Takes Care of Plants
This spider-like robot will shift your succulent plants into sunlight or shade....
JUL 20, 2018
Technology
JUL 20, 2018
RSTAR: The Creepy Crawling Robot
Rising Sprawl-Tuned Autonomous Robot (RSTAR), which was introduced at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2018) in Brisbane, Aust...
JUL 31, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUL 31, 2018
A Brand New Geometric Shape
Cell use this shape when packing together to form structures....
AUG 05, 2018
Technology
AUG 05, 2018
Google Glass For Autism Therapy
Many researchers have designed innovative technological options to help children with autism improve social skills. One such research team allowed children...
AUG 24, 2018
Technology
AUG 24, 2018
Shape-shifting Material Innovates Technology
A study recently published in the journal Science Advances explains how engineers at the University of Colorado have developed new material that is capable...
Loading Comments...