4D Printing

4D Printing - Adding the 4th Dimension of Time


Is 4D Printing a real possibility? It would add the dimension of time to length, width and height in the creation of objects. The research behind its development is certainly real.  Experts at MIT, Harvard, Cornell and many other outstanding research centers are aggressively pursuing it.  It will create structures that construct and deconstruct themselves.  As one of the world's leading 3D printing/additive manufacturing experts Avi Reichenthal told me in a news interview:  "It will create zero waste, sustainability forever and if you're tired of one geometry, you can reorganize it into another, just like a protein chain."

Benchmarks toward 4D

MIT's Self Assembly Lab and BMW just revealed a program called Liquid Printed Pneumatics (LPP) for self-assembling car interiors.  The Lab's "Rapid Liquid Printing" (RLP) technique is being utilized. The system is a challenge to 3D printing's speed, size and materials used. RLP takes place inside a vat of silicone.  In the vat, a nozzle injects a continuous stream of liquid ink, which when exposed to UV light, becomes a solid.  Post-processing of the object is easy.  Just remove it from the vat. In essence, RLP is designed to advance 3D printing toward 4D.

Inflatables that Morph

BMW-MIT's Liquid Printed Pneumatics (LPP) are  printed inflatables that can expand and morph into any shape.  They're very similar to the promise of 4D.  They're programmed by design to take on a desired shape when stimuli are applied.  In this case, filling it with air.  LPP is a concept right now.  But some experts believe it could make car interiors "mobile living spaces".  The potential applications of 4D printing are endless.