University of Texas at Arlington researcher was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to develop 2D materials for the 3D manufacturing of soft conductor materials.
Kyungsuk Yum, an associate professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department will be presenting his research on programming polymeric materials to allow for the scalable and custom-made manufacturing of 3D structures.
This team will draw on previous research in 2D material programming for shaping, published in Nature Communications 2021. This technology, digital-light 4D printing, allows team members to print 2D hydrogels, biological materials, and other materials with spatially controlled contractions that can transform to programed 3D structures.
Yum’s new research will extend this technology using non-biological media, such as polymeric softconductive materials, which could be used in soft electronics and soft machines.
“Our 2D material programming method for 3D shaping has unique advantages as a manufacturing technology, such as scalability and customizability, but designing the materials remains challenging,”
Yum agreed. “This grant will enable us to address this challenge for broader applications.”
Yum and his colleagues were inspired to develop the 2D material programming method for 3D shaping by biological organisms. They use spatially controlled contraction and expansion of soft tissue to produce complex 3D shapes. The researchers now hope to use this inspiration to develop a new model in manufacturing.
“Dr. Yum’s findings from his previous research changed the way we look at soft engineering systems,” said Stathis Meletis, chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department. “His new grant will allow him to continue his groundbreaking work with applications beyond living organisms.”
— written by Jeremy Agor of College of Engineering