This ‘4D’ printing method could make packing for outer space much easier

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These tiny objects made with 3D printers can dramatically expand when exposed to heat.

Scientists have created a pair of compact, unfurling structures that could pave the way for innovations in biomedical devices or space exploration, where payloads can cost tens of thousands of dollars per pound.

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A team at the Georgia Institute of Technology crafted these objects using “tensegrity” — a structural system of floating rods in compression and cables in continuous tension. Researchers crafted the rods and cables, called “struts,” from shape memory polymers that unfold when heated. Read more…

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