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Four-dimensional Printing of Liquid Crystal Elastomers

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Department of Bioengineering, The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas 75080, United States
Department of Industrial Engineering, The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, United States
Cite this: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 42, 37332–37339
Publication Date (Web):October 2, 2017
Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society
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Supporting Info (3)»


Abstract Image

Three-dimensional structures capable of reversible changes in shape, i.e., four-dimensional-printed structures, may enable new generations of soft robotics, implantable medical devices, and consumer products. Here, thermally responsive liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) are direct-write printed into 3D structures with a controlled molecular order. Molecular order is locally programmed by controlling the print path used to build the 3D object, and this order controls the stimulus response. Each aligned LCE filament undergoes 40% reversible contraction along the print direction on heating. By printing objects with controlled geometry and stimulus response, magnified shape transformations, for example, volumetric contractions or rapid, repetitive snap-through transitions, are realized.

Supporting Information

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The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b11851.

  • Additional characterization data, figures, and movies of the LC ink and LCE printed structures (PDF)

  • Combined Gaussian curvature LCE exhibiting reversible snap-through actuation in response to thermal stimulus (AVI)

  • Combined Gaussian curvature LCE producing work and catapulting a mass (AVI)

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