Synthetic Materials can be advanced to imitate Biological systems for added functions, find researchers

In a new development, a team of material scientists at the University of Texas, Arlington have developed a technique that maps out 2-D materials to transform into complex 3-D shapes. The objective of the work is to develop synthetic materials that can imitate some physiology of living organisms how they expand, how soft tissues contract, and, thus, perform complex 3-D movements and functions.

In fact, mapping out 2-D materials to morph into 3-D shapes can enable new technologies for deployable systems, soft robotics, and biomimetic manufacturing.

The finding is an initiative of a team of researchers at the Materials Science and Engineering Department, University of Texas. With this development, it now allows material scientists to print 2-D materials encoded with spatially controlled in-plane contraction or growth that can metamorphose into programmed 3-D formations.

The research is published in the January edition of Nature Communications.

Interestingly, in biological systems, there are a number of 2D materials that are 3-D shaped. And, these materials play diverse functions. In fact, biological organisms often attain complex 3D morphologies and shift of soft slender tissues by spatial control of their expansion and contraction. Taking inspiration from such biological processes, material scientists have developed a technique that maps out 2D materials featuring spatially controlled in-plane growth to generate 3D shapes and movements.

Furthermore, researchers developed a method that can create 3D structures in a unique manner with doubly curved motions ad morphologies. Such twists are commonly seen in living organisms to replicate in man-made materials.

Using this technique, material scientists could form 3D objects such as stingrays, automobiles, and human faces. They used digital light 4D printing method to realize the concept of 2D material programming.