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Selective Laser Sintering-Based 4D Printing of Magnetism-Responsive Grippers

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posted on 28.12.2020, 15:34 by Hongzhi Wu, Ouyangxu Wang, Yujia Tian, Mingzhe Wang, Bin Su, Chunze Yan, Kun Zhou, Yusheng Shi
Components fabricated by four-dimensional (4D) printing hold the potential for applications in soft robotics because of their characteristics of responding to external stimuli. Grippers, being the common structures used in robotics, were fabricated by the selective laser sintering (SLS)-based 4D printing of magnetism-responsive materials and tested for remote-controllable deformation in an external magnetic field. A composite material consisting of magnetic Nd2Fe14B powder and thermoplastic polyurethane powder was selected as the raw material for the SLS; the magnetic particle acquired permanent magnetism by magnetization after the SLS process. Microscopic characterization showed the homogeneous dispersion of magnetic particles inside the polymer matrix. The magnetic induction intensity distribution was systematically investigated by both experiments and numerical simulations. The reliability of the numerical model proposed was justified by the excellent consistency between them. The deformation of the grippers could be regulated by tuning the magnetic particle content and the distance from the external magnet; the deformation mechanism is investigated numerically. The magnetic driving force and the corresponding horizontal displacement are calculated, thus having high accuracy compared with the existing research that obtained the deformation amount by only visual inspection. Mechanical properties of the SLS-fabricated magnetic polymer composite specimens were also studied because of their close relationship with the deformation behaviors. These findings provide guidance for future research on controllable deformation and driving force calculation for 4D printing.

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