Additive Manufacturing of smart biobased sandwich panels

Startdatum26 april 2022
Einddatum25 april 2023
RegelingKIEM GoChem 2019-2024
  • Bètatechniek
  • Energie en Klimaat - Een klimaatneutrale industrie met hergebruik van grondstoffen en producten in 2050
  • Energie en Klimaat - Een duurzaam gedreven, volledig circulaire economie in 2050. Voor 2030 is de doelstelling halvering van het grondstoffengebruik.
  • Sleuteltechnologieën - Geavanceerde Materialen
  • Sleuteltechnologieën - Engineering- en fabricagetechnologieën
  • Sleuteltechnologieën en duurzame materialen

Currently, many novel innovative materials and manufacturing methods are developed in order to help businesses for improving their performance, developing new products, and also implement more sustainability into their current processes. For this purpose, additive manufacturing (AM) technology has been very successful in the fabrication of complex shape products, that cannot be manufactured by conventional approaches, and also using novel high-performance materials with more sustainable aspects. The application of bioplastics and biopolymers is growing fast in the 3D printing industry. Since they are good alternatives to petrochemical products that have negative impacts on environments, therefore, many research studies have been exploring and developing new biopolymers and 3D printing techniques for the fabrication of fully biobased products. In particular, 3D printing of smart biopolymers has attracted much attention due to the specific functionalities of the fabricated products. They have a unique ability to recover their original shape from a significant plastic deformation when a particular stimulus, like temperature, is applied. Therefore, the application of smart biopolymers in the 3D printing process gives an additional dimension (time) to this technology, called four-dimensional (4D) printing, and it highlights the promise for further development of 4D printing in the design and fabrication of smart structures and products. This performance in combination with specific complex designs, such as sandwich structures, allows the production of for example impact-resistant, stress-absorber panels, lightweight products for sporting goods, automotive, or many other applications. In this study, an experimental approach will be applied to fabricate a suitable biopolymer with a shape memory behavior and also investigate the impact of design and operational parameters on the functionality of 4D printed sandwich structures, especially, stress absorption rate and shape recovery behavior.


The development of innovative materials and manufacturing technologies play a crucial role in today's industrial business landscape as it directly impacts product creation, performance, and end-life sustainability. Additive manufacturing (AM) technology has proven to be particularly useful in producing customized and complex-shaped products using high-performance materials with sustainable attributes. This has led to the rapid adoption of biopolymers in the 3D printing industry, providing environmentally friendly alternatives to petrochemical-based products. The integration of smart biopolymers in 3D printing introduces a great potential for designing and fabricating smart structures and products that exhibit exceptional functionality by returning to their original shape after undergoing plastic deformation triggered by stimuli such as temperature changes. This introduces a fourth dimension, time, hence this technology is also known as four-dimensional (4D) printing. In this project, an experimental approach was developed to create new sustainable biopolymers with smart functional performance that can be applied in the design of shape memory sandwich structures. The results provided insights into the impact of polymer composition, additives, and processing parameters on the mechanical and functional properties of the printed parts. Understanding these relationships is vital for optimizing the performance of 4D-printed structures and expanding their potential applications across industries. The developed approach in this study empowers industries to benefit more from sustainable materials, enabling product innovation, performance enhancement, and environmental stewardship. The future holds tremendous promise as the adoption of 4D printing continues to grow and shape industries worldwide.


University of Twente

Mehrshad Mehrpouya, contactpersoon


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  • Bioware slr