Research Topic

4D printing: Digital Manufacturing of Smart Materials and Structures

About this Research Topic

Smart materials like advanced composites, functionally graded materials, shape memory materials, multi-phase materials, and biomaterials play a crucial role in applications such as conductors, actuators, sensors, soft robotics, wearable electronics, MEMS, drug delivery, tissue engineering, chemicals detection, power generation and storage, aerospace systems, and self-assembly. Recently, three-dimensional (3D) printing has emerged as a fabrication technology also for such smart materials and structures, leading to the emergence of 4D printing as the next-generation additive manufacturing technique. It enables the tailored manufacturing of smart, functional, adaptive, and shape-changing structures that can actively respond to external stimuli like temperature, light, humidity, pH, electric or magnetic fields, etc. Though impressive developments have already been made in the last few years, 4D printing is still in its infancy and research efforts are required to drive its maturing towards practical and industrial applications.

The main goal of this Research Topic is to promote the dissemination of significant developments in all research fields related to 4D printing. This includes development of new smart, functional materials, their fabrication using 3D printing and advanced manufacturing technologies, in particular towards multi-material and multi-method fabrication systems, as well as the modeling and simulation of such materials and 4D printed structures, and design and application. This Research Topic creates a forum for research contributions covering a broad spectrum of topics ranging from numerical and experimental investigations to hybrid approaches in the research and development of advanced smart materials and manufacturing technologies, and their modeling and application. All researchers/investigators are invited to contribute with their original research papers, short communications, and review papers.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:
· Smart materials development and characterization for 4D printing
· Intelligent materials systems and structures
· Functionally graded and multi-material additive manufacturing
· Digital and sustainable manufacturing
· Analytical and computational modeling for 3D/4D printing processes, materials and structures
· Advanced design and design optimization for 3D/4D printing
· 3D/4D printing of bioinspired biomaterials for tissue regeneration
· Biomimetic 3D/4D printing
· Soft robotic systems


Keywords: 4D Printing, 3D Printing, Smart Materials


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.

Smart materials like advanced composites, functionally graded materials, shape memory materials, multi-phase materials, and biomaterials play a crucial role in applications such as conductors, actuators, sensors, soft robotics, wearable electronics, MEMS, drug delivery, tissue engineering, chemicals detection, power generation and storage, aerospace systems, and self-assembly. Recently, three-dimensional (3D) printing has emerged as a fabrication technology also for such smart materials and structures, leading to the emergence of 4D printing as the next-generation additive manufacturing technique. It enables the tailored manufacturing of smart, functional, adaptive, and shape-changing structures that can actively respond to external stimuli like temperature, light, humidity, pH, electric or magnetic fields, etc. Though impressive developments have already been made in the last few years, 4D printing is still in its infancy and research efforts are required to drive its maturing towards practical and industrial applications.

The main goal of this Research Topic is to promote the dissemination of significant developments in all research fields related to 4D printing. This includes development of new smart, functional materials, their fabrication using 3D printing and advanced manufacturing technologies, in particular towards multi-material and multi-method fabrication systems, as well as the modeling and simulation of such materials and 4D printed structures, and design and application. This Research Topic creates a forum for research contributions covering a broad spectrum of topics ranging from numerical and experimental investigations to hybrid approaches in the research and development of advanced smart materials and manufacturing technologies, and their modeling and application. All researchers/investigators are invited to contribute with their original research papers, short communications, and review papers.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:
· Smart materials development and characterization for 4D printing
· Intelligent materials systems and structures
· Functionally graded and multi-material additive manufacturing
· Digital and sustainable manufacturing
· Analytical and computational modeling for 3D/4D printing processes, materials and structures
· Advanced design and design optimization for 3D/4D printing
· 3D/4D printing of bioinspired biomaterials for tissue regeneration
· Biomimetic 3D/4D printing
· Soft robotic systems


Keywords: 4D Printing, 3D Printing, Smart Materials


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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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

05 March 2021 Manuscript
26 November 2021 Manuscript Extension

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

05 March 2021 Manuscript
26 November 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

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

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