Hygromorph composites are moisture-induced shape-changing materials that are increasingly studied to develop autonomously actuated deployable structures. The morphing mechanism is based on the high affinity for moisture and the hygroexpansive nature of at least one component, combined with a bilayer microstructure. Among available hygromorphs, those consisting of cellulosic or hydrogel material-based actuators trigger fast responses to moisture. Their stiffness however decreases significantly with the moisture content and that restricts their potential application as soft actuators. This work proposes a novel 4D printed multistimuli-responsive structural material based on conductive carbon reinforcements and combined with a moisture sensitive polymer. These 4D printed materials possess a microstructure that provides the capability of natural actuators like pine cones. The actuation of these functional materials could be either triggered passively by the variation of the ambient moisture, or by electroheating, with the latter leading to the control of the moisture content in initially wet samples via Joule effects. This new class of functional materials shows an increase of the actuation speed by a factor 10 compared to other existing hygromorphs with the same responsiveness. When the electrical heating is turned off, passive cooling and moisture driven actuation is triggered in a full reversible mode.
- 4D printing
- fused filament fabrication
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- Department of Aerospace Engineering - Professor of Smart Materials & Structures
- Cabot Institute for the Environment
- The Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information
- Composites University Technology Centre (UTC)
- Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS)
Person: Academic , Member