Swift 4D printing of thermoresponsive shape-memory polymers using vat photopolymerization

Fahad Alam, Jabir Ubaid, Haider Butt, Nazek El-Atab*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shape-memory polymers (SMPs) are smart materials that have gained significant attention in recent years owing to their widespread application in smart structures and devices. Digital light processing (DLP), a vat-photopolymerization-based technique, is a significantly faster technology for printing a complete layer in a single step. The current study reports a facile and fast method for the 3D printing of SMP-based smart structures using a DLP 3D printer and a customized resin. A liquid crystal (LC, RM257) was combined with the resin to introduce shape-memory properties. The combination of LCs in photocurable resin provides the opportunity to directly 3D-print thermoresponsive structures, avoiding the complexity of SMP resin preparation. The structures were printed with different geometries, and the shape-memory response was measured. Lattice structures were fabricated and programmed to obtain tunable mechanical properties. Furthermore, the strain-sensing response was measured to demonstrate the utility of these lattice structures as smart patches for joint-movement sensing. The SMPs can be prepared conveniently and can potentially be used for various applications, such as smart tools, toys, and meta-material sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number65
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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