The Center for Composites at Canada University Concordia considers composite 4D printing to be the next step in the development of additive technologies.
The most research projects in additive technologies focus on making this process cheaper and faster. Professor Suong Van Hoa is pursuing this aim developing 4D printing technology. He suggests converting factors considered negative, into a useful aspect.
He noticed that some 3D printed products can transform their shape when cooling and curing. This is a result of resin shrinkage and the difference in thermal contraction coefficients of layers with different fiber orientations in the laminates. The period of time during which the shape of finished product is transforming is the 4D-factor.
The same kind of transformation is possible under the influence of temperature, light, moisture or magnetic field. And the finished product can stay in the given non-linear shape but it also can transform under certain conditions, recovering to the initial shape.
When designing the components, it is necessary to take into account a few aspects studied by Suong Van Hoa.
Composite 4D printing using continuous fibers will result in eliminating molding and making products with complex geometry suitable for a variety of applications in a quick and cost effective way. The researcher believes that this technology is especially useful for the aerospace industry, where the components can, for instance, open up under the influence of light to accumulate energy, and close down protecting sensitive surfaces.
Suong Van Hoa is a professor of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. He is a founder of Concordia Center for Composites (CONCOM) where the research project is conducted.
New additive technologies cause great interest so they are being developed within the framework of research projects of the largest educational institutions worldwide. We have recently informed our audience about rotational 3D composite printing method, which is under development in Harvard.