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Additive Manufacturing of Morphing Electronics

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zhangxian (Dan) Deng

Morphing electronics encompass a class of devices or systems capable of shape changes, adaptations, or reconfigurations in response to external stimuli or user commands.  These electronics find wide-ranging applications including wearable and flexible devices, shape-changing displays, reconfigurable antennas, and adaptive aerospace structures.  The objective of this project is to leverage modern additive manufacturing techniques to 3D print morphing structures responsive to electrical, photonic, and/or thermal stimuli.  Additionally, we will explore the incorporation of functional materials, like piezoelectric and magnetostrictive materials, within the morphing structure, aiming to achieve multifunctional systems suitable for applications in soft robotics, space exploration, and biomedical sensing.

Role of Participant(s):

This project offers participants an immersive learning experience, focusing on customizing plastic filaments and nanoparticle colloid inks for additive manufacturing.  Participants will gain hands-on experience by operating commercial direct ink writing systems and fused filament fabrication systems to print shape-memory polymers.  Additionally, they will have the opportunity to utilize 3D digital image correlation systems, laser doppler vibrometers, and modern load frames to characterize the thermo-mechanical properties of shape-memory polymers.  By mix-printing electronic materials and functional substances with shape-memory polymers, participants will be able to prototype multifunctional and morphing platforms, fostering a deep understanding of cutting-edge technologies and their potential applications.

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