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4D Printing of High-Performance Thermal-Responsive Liquid Metal Elastomers Driven by Embedded Microliquid Chambers

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posted on 27.02.2020, 18:47 by Lu-yu Zhou, Jiang-hao Ye, Jian-zhong Fu, Qing Gao, Yong He
Four-dimensional (4D) printing of swellable materials have been viewed as an ideal approach to build shape morphing architectures. However, there is less variety in high-performance swellable materials, limiting its development. To address this challenge, we proposed a new strategy for designing high-performance thermal-responsive swellable materials. The reversible liquid–vapor phase change of embedded low boiling point liquid chambers and functional liquid metal fillers endows the designed elastomer with the reversible thermal-responsive swellable property with high stability, fast response speed, and large equilibrium deformation. Notably, liquid metal fillers play a crucial role in improving the thermal-responsive property via improving the thermal conductivity and fracture toughness and decreasing the stiffness. To demonstrate the feasibility of constructing shape morphing architectures with proposed thermal-responsive liquid metal elastomers, typical bilayer structures were printed and investigated. By altering the key design parameters, the response speed and equilibrium deformation can be adjusted as needed. Therefore, complex shape morphing architectures can be printed. This study could provide a new avenue to design swellable material systems for 4D printing of shape morphing architectures.