A group of engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a technology for 3D printing electronic devices capable of taking a desired shape after manufacturing. An article describing this technology was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Of course, now there are already technologies that allow creating objects with a variable form using 3D printing, but the shape of the products printed in this way changes only as a result of external influences, for example, from heat.
Scientists from MIT managed to find a method of 3D printing that changes their shape without any external stimuli. To do this, the researchers used two types of polymers as a raw materials. One of the polymers which has the property of expanding when solidified. Using this polymer, engineers were able to print hybrid objects that change their shape due to the expanding polymer after disengaging from the substrate.
To test the efficiency of the new technology, engineers printed several electronic devices using a conductive polymer. For instance, the researchers printed a device with electrodes and an electrochromic fragment in the center, which changes its transparency under the influence of an electric current.
via ACS Journal