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When 3D-Printed Objects Become 4D

Apr 13, 2017 at 5:00 PM ET

Too cool for 3D printing? Welcome to the fourth dimension.

Researchers at Georgia Tech created “4D” printed objects by 3D-printing material that transforms when exposed to heat. They then demonstrated the process by immersing 3D-printed shapes in heated water, causing the material to soften. The 4D objects have layers of “shape memory polymers”. Each layer reacts differently when heat is applied. Researchers hope the process can be used to develop new shape-shifting consumer products that respond to temperature, moisture or light.