Dehydration-induced action. (Credit: UNSW Sydney)

Researchers have successfully merged 3D/4D printing with a chemical process to produce “living” resin, which has huge potential for applications including biomedicine. The new controlled polymerization method, where the researchers used visible light to create an environmentally friendly “living” plastic or polymer, opens a new world of possibilities for the manufacture of advanced solid materials.

The researchers said the team’s latest breakthrough was a world first in the development of a new 3D printing system using PET-RAFT polymerization, to allow 3D printed materials to be easily modified after printing.

In contrast to conventional 3D printing, the new method of using visible light is said to allow the researchers to control the architecture of the polymers and tune the mechanical properties of the materials prepared by our process.