Curvature tuning through defect-based 4D printing

Vahid Moosabeiki, Ebrahim Yarali, Ava Ghalayaniesfahani, Sebastien J.P. Callens, Teunis van Manen, Angelo Accardo, Sepideh Ghodrat, José Bico, Mehdi Habibi, Mohammad J. Mirzaali*, Amir A. Zadpoor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Emerging 4D printing techniques have enabled the realization of smart materials whose shape or properties can change with time. Two important phenomena play important roles in the 4D printing of shape memory polymeric materials. First, the anisotropic deformation of the printed filaments due to residual stresses can be harnessed to create out-of-plane shape transformations. Second, the unavoidable formation of micro-defects during the printing processes often affects the programmability of the printed object. Here, we propose a design approach that harnesses these two effects occurring during fused deposition modeling to create tailor-made curved geometries from initially 2D flat disks. We first determined the size and distribution of the imperfections formed within printed structures by varying two printing parameters namely the printing speed and the number of printed materials. Spatially varying the printing speed and combining polylactic acid filaments with a softer material without shape memory properties allowed us to cover a variety of shapes from negative to positive values of the mean and Gaussian curvature. We propose an analytical model to calculate the magnitude of the maximum out-of-plane deformation from the anisotropic expansion factor of the constituting microstructures. Furthermore, we develop computational models to predict the complex shape-changing of thermally actuated 4D printed structures given the distribution of rationally introduced imperfections and we demonstrate the potential applications of such defect-based metamaterials in drug delivery systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Number of pages12
JournalCommunications Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


M.J.M. acknowledges funding from Open Competition Domain Science – XS, NWO and Idea Generator (NWA-IDG) research program with code numbers NWA.1228.192.228. M.H. acknowledges funding from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research through NWO-VIDI grant No. 680-47-548/983. J.B. acknowledges funding from the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche, project SecondSkin.


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