Body-Temperature Polymer Could Provoke Some Very Interesting 3D Prints

By on February 17th, 2016 in research

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A new polymer developed by a team from the University of Rochester has an interesting property: it changes shape when triggered by body temperature alone. 

There are plastics that do change shape when exposed to temperature changes. Typically there is an “original” shape that emerges when the temperature change occurs. 

The problem has been that these plastics typically require unusual temperatures to do so. The newly invented polymer requires only a body temperature trigger to revert to the original shape. 

While that’s interesting in itself, we wondered what this could mean for 3D printing, should this polymer make its way into a spool of 3D printer filament. 

Imagine designing a bracelet that, when worn, tightens around your wrist to match your body shape precisely. This effect could be ingeniously used by designers for all types of interesting functional items worn on one’s body. 

Of course, you’re probably wondering at this point how one would remove the bracelet! 

This turns out to be a straightforward process with the new polymer, as you simply stretch the semi-flexible material into a new shape. Once stretched, it stays there until it is again exposed to body temperature (about 35C) when it will revert to its original shape. Thus, to remove the bracelet you simply stretch it a bit and slide it off before it reverts shape. 

As we’ve said before, the future of 3D printing has much to do with the development of interesting materials, and this is certainly one of those. 

Via Space Daily

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!