4D Printing of Inter-Crosslinking Network Structure Gel with Hinge Structure

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Published Sep 8, 2021
Masanari Kameoka


  1. Introduction: 4D printing first gained attention in 2013 when MIT researcher Skyler Tibbits gave a TED talk titled "4D Printing Changing the World".[1] 4D printing is a technology that allows 3D printed objects to be deformed over time by applying specific external stimuli, [2] and is currently attracting attention as a technology to program biological-like movements into the internal structure of 3D printed objects. In previous research, the movement and deformation of the model has been controlled by devising the shape of the structure, such as a bilayer structure consisting of two materials with different physical properties. [3] However, it is difficult to realize the deformation in different directions simultaneously. The purpose of this research is to develop a 4D printing technology that can simultaneously deform each part of the same object in any direction.
  2. Material: ICN (Inter-Crosslinking Network structure) gel was used as the material. ICN gel is composed of two kinds of polymers cross-linked with each other to form a three-dimensional network. The composition of ICN gel was 4.0 mol/L of DMAAm (N,N-Dimethyl acrylamide) as monomer, 2.0 x 10-2mol/L of HPC (Hydroxypropyl Cellulose) as polymer, and KarenzMOI-EG (2-(2-methacryloyloxyethylaxy)) as crosslinker. KarenzMOI-EG (2-(2-methacryloyloxyethyloxy) ethyl isocyanate) as crosslinker, 2.0 x 10-2mol/L, and TPO (Diphenyl (2,4,6-trimethyl benzoyl) phosphine oxide) as photoinitiator, 2.0 x 10-2 mol/L, AS-150 (Benzenesulfonic acid, 2,2'-(1,2-ethenediyl) bis[5-[4-methoxy-6-(phenylamino)-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl]amino]-,sodium salt (1:2)) as absorbent. was mixed with 5.0 x 10-2 wt% of the solution volume, and purified water was used as the solvent.
  3. Experiments: A container filled with ICN gel (interconnected network structure gel) monomer solution was irradiated and scanned with an UV laser. At the hinge point where the irradiated laser energy is low, the 3d printed object bends/folds. As shown in figure 1, the bending direction is adjusted by changing the direction of the UV laser. When irradiated from above the container, the printed gel bends into a mountain fold. Contrary, when irradiated from the bottom of the container, the printed gel bends into a valley fold [4]. We designed a 3D model of a scorpion, which has mountain/volley fold hinge parts on legs, claws and a tail. The printed scorpion was immersed in a water tank and swollen for 30 minutes.
  4. Results and discussion: Figure 2 shows the scorpion model before and after swelling. The leg parts bent into a mountain fold, the tail bent into a valley fold, and the claws are lifted up, looking like a threat display. We successfully fabricated and transformed a flat scorpion object into a 3D scorpion by manipulating the laser irradiation direction and position of hinge parts. Future work will involve fabrication of a 4D printed Scorpion which cannot just actuate but is also is capable of locomotion.Silicone Molds(Cross-sectional view) and Structure of the moldingModeling test results

How to Cite

Kameoka, M. (2021). 4D Printing of Inter-Crosslinking Network Structure Gel with Hinge Structure. SPAST Abstracts, 1(01). Retrieved from https://spast.org/techrep/article/view/205
Abstract 8 |

Article Details


4D printing, 3D printing, Gel, 3D printer

1. Skylar Tibbits, ”Skylar Tibbits is the founder and codirector of the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT and assistant professor of design research in the department of architecture” https://www.ted.com/speakers/skylar_tibbits
2. Aamir Ahmed, Sandeep Arya, Vinay Gupta, Hidemitsu Furukawa, Ajit Khosla, 4D printing: Fundamentals, materials, applications and challenges, Polymer, Volume 228, 2021, 123926, ISSN 0032-3861, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polymer.2021.123926. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032386121005498 )
3. Ahmed, Kumkum, MD Nahin Islam Shiblee, Ajit Khosla, Larry Nagahara, Thomas Thundat, and Hidemitsu Furukawa. "Recent progresses in 4D printing of gel materials." Journal of The Electrochemical Society 167, no. 3 (2020): 037563. https://doi.org/10.1149/1945-7111/ab6e60
4. Hidemitsu Furukawa and Ajit Khosla 2021 Meet. Abstr. MA2021-01 1564. https://doi.org/10.1149/MA2021-01581564mtgabs (https://youtu.be/d0ZJyDy4VOQ)
GE7: Additive Manufacturing: 3D & 4D printing + Robotics