Influence of fused deposition modeling process parameters on the transformation of 4D printed morphing structures
4D printing combines additive layer manufacturing processes with smart materials to create structures that are able to change shape or properties over time under the influence of environmental stimuli. The article presents 3D printed multi-material shape-variable structures imitating a hinge. Fused deposition modelling was used because it provides the ability to preprogram structures during the printing process by varying printing parameters. The structures are printed with PLA and TPU and remain flat after printing until they are exposed to a stimulus - heat. The main objective of this article is to present the possibilities of the aforementioned preprogramming step which can be adapted by varying the printing process and design parameters of the printed part. Experimental results are presented investigating the influence of printing speed, temperature of the build plate and number of active layers in the structure. Furthermore, the repeatability of deformations after a small number of cycles is investigated. The obtained results prove that the deformation of the structures can be controlled by printing parameters and a variety of bending degrees can be obtained by manipulating them. Hot water is used as a stimulus in the study to activate the structures but it is believed that other direct and indirect heating sources are also applicable. The research could help predict the behaviour of deformation of shape-morphing structures by selecting certain printing and design parameter values.