Shape-shifting structured lattices via multimaterial 4D printing

Published Date: 
October 2, 2019

Boley JW, van Rees WM, Lissandrello C, Horenstein MN, Truby RL, Kotikian A, Lewis JA, Mahadevan L

Shape-morphing structured materials have the ability to transform a range of applications. However, their design and fabrication remain challenging due to the difficulty of controlling the underlying metric tensor in space and time. Here, we exploit a combination of multiple materials, geometry, and 4-dimensional (4D) printing to create structured heterogeneous lattices that overcome this problem. Our printable inks are composed of elastomeric matrices with tunable cross-link density and anisotropic filler that enable precise control of their elastic modulus (E) and coefficient of thermal expansion [Formula: see text] The inks are printed in the form of lattices with curved bilayer ribs whose geometry is individually programmed to achieve local control over the metric tensor. For independent control of extrinsic curvature, we created multiplexed bilayer ribs composed of 4 materials, which enables us to encode a wide range of 3-dimensional (3D) shape changes in response to temperature. As exemplars, we designed and printed planar lattices that morph into frequency-shifting antennae and a human face, demonstrating functionality and geometric complexity, respectively. Our inverse geometric design and multimaterial 4D printing method can be readily extended to other stimuli-responsive materials and different 2-dimensional (2D) and 3D cell designs to create scalable, reversible, shape-shifting structures with unprecedented complexity.