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Multimaterial 3D printing

Multimaterial 3D printing

Written by David

January 21, 2019

Traditional robotic systems with rigid parts often pose a threat to human operators. Recently flourishing soft actuators and robots, in contrast, offer excellent adaptivity to surroundings and safe, coexisting interaction with humans. However, their competence in load-bearing tasks is undermined by the inherent low-stiffness nature of constituent materials like silicone rubbers. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing 2018-2028 . In search of stiffness-tunable materials that help increase the load capacity of soft robotic systems without sacrificing their compliance during robot-object interaction, thermally activated shape memory polymers (SMPs) stand out as a promising candidate. Not only are SMPs capable of reversibly changing stiffness by two to three orders of magnitude, they are also compatible with 3D printing. However, thus far it has been reported that SMP-based soft actuators generally suffer from limitations such as slow responses, small deformations and difficulties in automated fabrications with microfeatures. Researchers […]

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