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Working valve 4D printed

posted 08 June 2015 at 00:11:42

Researchers have been exploring the amazing potential of 4D printing for a while now – that’s 3D printed objects that can change their shape or appearance, under the influence of external factors such as temperature or water. A recent breakthrough was made by professor Marc in het Panhuis, of Wollongong University in Australia, who has 3D printed a functioning valve that responds to changes in its surrounding water temperature. The clever thing about the valve is that, once printed, its reaction is completely autonomous – it closes itself when it detects hot water. Printed with four different types of hydrogel, the valve is strong, flexible, soft and robust. This basic valve example is just the starting point for developing more sophisticated designs with military, medical and technological applications.  

 Image: © University of Wollongong