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Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 23;9(1):324. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36936-6.

3D printing of twisting and rotational bistable structures with tuning elements.

Author information

1
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, 44919, Republic of Korea.
2
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, UNIST, Ulsan, 44919, Republic of Korea.
3
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, UNIST, Ulsan, 44919, Republic of Korea. nhkim@unist.ac.kr.
4
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, 44919, Republic of Korea. ycjun@unist.ac.kr.

Abstract

Three-dimensional (3D) printing is ideal for the fabrication of various customized 3D components with fine details and material-design complexities. However, most components fabricated so far have been static structures with fixed shapes and functions. Here we introduce bistability to 3D printing to realize highly-controlled, reconfigurable structures. Particularly, we demonstrate 3D printing of twisting and rotational bistable structures. To this end, we have introduced special joints to construct twisting and rotational structures without post-assembly. Bistability produces a well-defined energy diagram, which is important for precise motion control and reconfigurable structures. Therefore, these bistable structures can be useful for simplified motion control in actuators or for mechanical switches. Moreover, we demonstrate tunable bistable components exploiting shape memory polymers. We can readjust the bistability-energy diagram (barrier height, slope, displacement, symmetry) after printing and achieve tunable bistability. This tunability can significantly increase the use of bistable structures in various 3D-printed components.

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