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Two 3D Printing Applications Of New Shape-Shifting Technology

August 30, 2016

Exciting news emerged within the last few days in the world of 3D printing. Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts managed to successfully 3D-print structures that ‘remember’ their shapes. The announcement was made in a statement released by MIT.

Flexible

The emergence of this new technology caused a real buzz among additive manufacturing enthusiasts. Scientists were able to bend and twist the printed polymer out of shape, and they observed that the structures returned to their original forms when heated to a certain optimal temperature. In essence, this flexibility makes the material ideal for a number of promising new applications in the 3D printing space.

A shape-memory Eiffel tower was 3-D printed using projection microstereolithography. It is shown recovering from being bent, after toughening on a heated Singapore dollar coin. – Photo courtesy of Qi (Kevin) Ge

Applications

3D printing is still somewhat of a budding technology, and we are only beginning 

to see it becoming more widespread. There are an exciting set of plausible applications for shape-shifted 3D structures. Here are two of the most promising:

Temperature-dependent Drug Release. One of the most encouraging future uses of this kind of technology is the postulated ability to develop medication that releases into the bloodstream at the first sign of an infection, which is usually a sharp rise in body temperature. Tropical illnesses such as malaria and dengue fever wreak havoc on the health care departments of many developing nations each year. The ability to halt these illnesses at the first sign of an infection would benefit these countries enormously and possibly save thousands of lives worldwide.

More efficient solar panels. Another suggested application of flexible 3D polymers is in building better solar panels. Actuators built with this sort of technology could turn solar panels toward the sun automatically in response to heat. Solar batteries often heat up to extreme temperatures. According to MIT scientists, adjusting the angle of inclination with hinges would help with this issue and ensure better efficiency from solar panels.

This latest technological development is just in its infancy. But the two applications outlined here already display a lot of promise for shape-shifting 3D structures. Expect to hear more news about this real soon.

 

 

 

 

Keyword: 3d printing ,3d news,3d applications, 3d building technology

                               

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