Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

On January 5th 2021, a group of engineers at Rutgers University of New Jersey announced that they had created two 3D printable materials that when combined created a new material that could change colour and shape when exposed to light. Their work took inspiration from how cephalopods like cuttlefish, octopuses and squids can change their skin colour to camouflage themselves and their research was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. They hope that their work will lead to new forms of military camouflage, robotics and electronic displays.

One material was a water-absorbent gel, which when combined with a special light-sensing material, made an artificial muscle that could contract in response to changes in light. The other material was a stretchy substance that could reveal colours in response to light changes. Combining this with the light-sensitive gel enabled the researchers to replicate the camouflage effect. For further work, the team intends to improve the material’s sensitivity, response time and durability.

Other examples of novel 3D printable materials have been created by researchers at Harvard University of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Rice University of Houston, Texas. In September 2020, researchers at Harvard University unveiled a 3D printable wool-like material that could remember and change its shape in response to certain stimuli, which they hoped would help wider efforts of reducing waste in the fashion industry. With Rice University, researchers unveiled a 3D printable lightweight, load-bearing and bullet resistant material in November 2019, proclaiming that it marked the next step towards the holy grail of material science.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “Octopus macropus Merculiano” is in the public domain because it is a mere mechanical scan or photocopy of a public domain original, or, from the available evidence, is so similar to such a scan or photocopy that no copyright protection can be expected to arise. The original itself is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer.