3-D printed structures "remember" their shapes

Plazma Inferno!

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Engineers from MIT and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are using light to print three-dimensional structures that “remember” their original shapes. Even after being stretched, twisted, and bent at extreme angles, the structures — from small coils and multimaterial flowers, to an inch-tall replica of the Eiffel tower — sprang back to their original forms within seconds of being heated to a certain temperature “sweet spot.”
For some structures, the researchers were able to print micron-scale features as small as the diameter of a human hair — dimensions that are at least one-tenth as big as what others have been able to achieve with printable shape-memory materials.
These shape-memory polymers that can predictably morph in response to temperature can be useful for a number of applications, from soft actuators that turn solar panels toward the sun, to tiny drug capsules that open upon early signs of infection.
Scientists' ultimate goal is using body temperature as a trigger.If designed properly, these polymers may be able to form a drug delivery device that will only release medicine at the sign of a fever.


Paper: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep31110