Review of mechanisms and deformation behaviors in 4D printing

  • Han Ding
  • Xiang Zhang
  • Yong LiuEmail author
  • Seeram Ramakrishna


Although 3D printing was invented in 1984, it was not until recent years that it captured the imagination of everyone from industry experts to at-home hobbyists. Three-dimensional printing, also known as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping, constructs an object by accumulating materials layer by layer. In recent years, 3D printing technology has been dramatically developed with respect to materials, printer, and process, which laid a foundation for 4D printing. Four-dimensional printing is the targeted evolution of the 3D-printed structure, concerning shape, property, and functionality. The object is produced by 3D printing firstly. Then, the object can self-deform, self-assemble, self-disassemble, self-repair, and change property or functionality over time when the external stimuli are imposed on it. This review mainly introduces the stimulus, types of shape-shifting behaviors, mechanisms of deformation, and applications of 4D printing.


3D printing 4D printing Self-deform Types of shape-shifting Mechanisms of deformation 


Funding information

The paper was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundations of China (Grant Number 21374008).


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© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Advanced Functional Polymer CompositesBeijing University of Chemical TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.Nanoscience and Nanotechnology InitiativeNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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