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Scientists 3d-print self-assembling wood & carbon fibre

For the most part, our wood and carbon fibre objects are solid, inert and boring lumps. They don’t bend or curl — or at least, they aren’t supposed to. 

But Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have created wood and carbon fibre specially designed to be dynamic, conjuring up visions of wood furniture that self-assembles out of the flat pack or carbon fibre that morphs with the temperature.

At MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, a team of scientists have been 3D-printing materials that morph into pre-programmable shapes with heat or water. As lead researcher, John Brownlee explains, ‘think bacon. Bacon curls as it cooks because the stripe of lean loses water and shrinks faster than the strip of fat. Print your own wood with grains in a certain pattern, and you can program exactly how it will curl as it dries.’

Right now, this technology is in that early phases, however the possibilities for new products seem endless. 

 

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Posted Date: November 27, 2014

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