Every time you mention 3D printing technology, I believe everyone will be familiar with it. It is also called "additive manufacturing". After layered modeling, the digital blueprint is printed as a physical target. But nowadays a brand-new technology is really emerging, it is 4D printing technology.
So what is the difference between 3D printing and 4D printing? Or what are the advantages of 4D printing? First, 3D printing is about repeating the 2D structure layer by layer from bottom to top in the printing path until a 3D volume is created. 4D printing is called 3D printing that changes with time, so it adds a fourth dimension: time. Compared with 3D printing skills, the biggest breakthrough of 4D printing is its ability to change over time.
4D printing technology is usually used in commercial 3D printers, such as Polyjet 3D printers. The input is "smart data", which can be a hydrogel or a shape memory polymer. Because of other material properties and thermo-mechanical properties, smart materials are given shape-changing properties, which are different from ordinary 3D printing materials.
The biggest advantage of 4D printing is that after accounting and folding, it can print a larger target than the printer as only one part. Because 4D printing targets can be changed in shape, shortened and unfolded, targets that are too large cannot accommodate the printer and can be compressed for 3D printing into their non-essential form.
Although 4D printing technology is still in its infancy, we have not seen its application in our daily lives. With the deepening of research and the improvement of technology, we believe that 4D printing technology can bring us more in the near future. Many surprises.