Additive manufacturing—or 3D printing—is 30 years old now. Today, it has found applications not just in industry but also in households because of how affordable it has become. As anything can be printed, 3D printing opened up unlimited opportunities for different manufacturing sectors, including apparel, medical, automotive, aviation, and even defense.
Despite these advances, there is a lot more that can be done with 3D printed materials to make them more flexible and useful. “4D printing”, as it’s commonly known, offers this flexibility and utility. 4D printing refers to 3D-printed objects that have an added dimension of “time”. Upon exposure to certain stimuli, these objects or materials transform and change shape over time.