Congratulation to Research Fellow, Dr Theo Victor Calais has been awarded the 2021 MTC IRG & YIRG Grant! The project titled “Freeform Liquid 4D-Printing” will start on 1 April 2022.
Freeform Liquid 4D Printing
4D-printing refers to the 3D-printing of structures that can change shape when exposed to an environmental stimulus. However, only a few 3D-printing techniques are currently compatible with 4D-printing, with materials limited to shape memory polymers or some stimuli-responsive hydrogels. In the proposed research lead by Dr. Calais, bioinspired self-assembly strategies will be explored to reversibly control the material properties through a bottom-up approach, thus opening novel functionalities such as reversible control of stiffness, electrical, and thermal properties. To be able to 3D print these newly developed materials, researchers will pursue the development of an emerging 3D-printing technique. Called freeform liquid 3D printing, this technique uses gels as support, which allows for the printing of a wider range of materials, including those with low viscosities or long solidification times. In addition, using gels enables to print more complex structures that combine multiple materials, overhanging parts, or shapes with high-aspect ratios. The combination of this 3D-printing approach with the innovative self-assembly strategy, i.e. freeform liquid 4D printing, is expected to greatly enhance the capabilities of digital manufacturing in terms of advanced functionality and versatility. The research group will target applications in key economic sectors, by developing demonstrators useful for healthcare, robotics, or wearable electronics. If successful, the findings of this research will contribute to develop the scientific knowledge required to drive the next generation of 3D printable materials.
Freeform Liquid 3D Printing of Soft Functional Components for Soft Robotics
Image 1: Freeform liquid 4D-printing uses gels to 3D-print liquid or viscous functional inks, such as silicone rubbers.
Image 2: Extrusion of pillars (left) and embedding of fibers (right) with reversible properties, such as stiffness, using freeform liquid 4D-printing.
Manufacturing, Trade and Connectivity (MTC) IRG and YIRG support novel and fresh R&D investigator-led ideas in the technology readiness levels 1 (Basic Principles Observed) and 2 (technology Concept Formulated) space in the MTC domain sectors:
Manufacturing: Aerospace; Energy and Chemicals; Electronics; Precision Engineering; Marine and Offshore; Food Manufacturing; Biomedical Manufacturing
Trade: Logistics; Wholesale Trade
Connectivity: Aviation; Sea Transport; Satellites
Individual Research Grants (IRG) and Young Individual Research Grants (YIRG) are open to public sector research performers: local universities, A*STAR research institutes, polytechnics, and non defense-related public sector agencies (e.g. Ministries, Statutory Boards)