Research Topic

Four-dimensional (4D) Printing

About this Research Topic

4D printing has been receiving widespread attention in the academic and industrial communities since its conceptualization in 2013. It is a revolutionary manufacturing technology based on the high degree of cross-integration of the disciplines including materials, mechanical engineering, dynamics, informatics, etc. 4D printing, a part of additive manufacturing technology, shows the capability of fabricating intelligent components through the active design of smart materials and structures, as well as the shapes, properties, or functionalities which can controllably vary with time and space dimensions. The 4D printed products have vast potential for various applications in the field of aerospace, automotive, biomedical, soft robots, etc. In recent years, much effort has been focused on the 4D printing research and the change in shapes of the 4D printed components has been achieved. The main challenges facing this field are to implement the change of properties and functionalities and to research on simulation technology for 4D printing.

The controllable change in shapes, properties, or functionalities of 4D printed components needs to be stimulated by the external environments such as heating, electricity, magnetism, light, pH, solvent, and biological signals. In this research topic, the problems to be tackled are that heating dominates the external stimuli form and most studies only achieve the change in shapes due to the inertial thinking of applying smart materials in additive manufacturing. Therefore, the purpose of the subsequent research is to develop new smart materials, novel 4D printing process, and new research ideas for 4D printing with variable properties and functionalities. In addition, the characterization method of controllable change in shapes, properties, and functionalities of intelligent components and its special simulation technology need to be studied as a key point because they are rarely involved at present.

This special issue aims to publish cutting-edge original research papers studying the latest advances in the new smart materials & structures, 4D printing process and finite element model, and reviews that describe the current state of the art. Manuscripts about performance-changed and functionality-changed 4D printing are especially welcome. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:
• New and advanced smart materials development for 4D printing
• Design theory of smart materials and structures for 4D printing
• Novel 4D printing processes
• Multi-material 4D printing
• Characterization techniques for the controllable change in shapes, properties, or functionalities of 4D printed components
• 4D printing process modeling and simulation for 4D printed components
• Interrelationship model among material, process, property, and functionality of 4D printing


Keywords: 4D printing, Additive Manufacturing (AM), Intelligent component, Smart material & structure, Stimuli-responsive


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

4D printing has been receiving widespread attention in the academic and industrial communities since its conceptualization in 2013. It is a revolutionary manufacturing technology based on the high degree of cross-integration of the disciplines including materials, mechanical engineering, dynamics, informatics, etc. 4D printing, a part of additive manufacturing technology, shows the capability of fabricating intelligent components through the active design of smart materials and structures, as well as the shapes, properties, or functionalities which can controllably vary with time and space dimensions. The 4D printed products have vast potential for various applications in the field of aerospace, automotive, biomedical, soft robots, etc. In recent years, much effort has been focused on the 4D printing research and the change in shapes of the 4D printed components has been achieved. The main challenges facing this field are to implement the change of properties and functionalities and to research on simulation technology for 4D printing.

The controllable change in shapes, properties, or functionalities of 4D printed components needs to be stimulated by the external environments such as heating, electricity, magnetism, light, pH, solvent, and biological signals. In this research topic, the problems to be tackled are that heating dominates the external stimuli form and most studies only achieve the change in shapes due to the inertial thinking of applying smart materials in additive manufacturing. Therefore, the purpose of the subsequent research is to develop new smart materials, novel 4D printing process, and new research ideas for 4D printing with variable properties and functionalities. In addition, the characterization method of controllable change in shapes, properties, and functionalities of intelligent components and its special simulation technology need to be studied as a key point because they are rarely involved at present.

This special issue aims to publish cutting-edge original research papers studying the latest advances in the new smart materials & structures, 4D printing process and finite element model, and reviews that describe the current state of the art. Manuscripts about performance-changed and functionality-changed 4D printing are especially welcome. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:
• New and advanced smart materials development for 4D printing
• Design theory of smart materials and structures for 4D printing
• Novel 4D printing processes
• Multi-material 4D printing
• Characterization techniques for the controllable change in shapes, properties, or functionalities of 4D printed components
• 4D printing process modeling and simulation for 4D printed components
• Interrelationship model among material, process, property, and functionality of 4D printing


Keywords: 4D printing, Additive Manufacturing (AM), Intelligent component, Smart material & structure, Stimuli-responsive


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 August 2020 Abstract
31 January 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 August 2020 Abstract
31 January 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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