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Zhang and Yao earn MFI award for 4D printing

In the Media

looking of the left side of a plane in flight, view of the left wing flying over snowcapped mountains

Researchers collaborate to develop self-assembling structures to lower manufacturing costs

Jessica Zhang, a professor of mechanical engineering with a courtesy appointment in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, and Lining Yao, an assistant professor of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) with courtesy appointments in mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon, received a Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI) award for their collaborative project, “SimuLearn: Combining Machine Learning, Mechanical and Geometrical Simulation for the Inverse Design and Manufacture of Self-assembling Fiber-reinforced Composites.”

Fiber-reinforced composites (FRCs) are often used to make shells and structural components of ships, airplanes, and cars, but they are very expensive to produce. Currently, industries produce FRCs through a labor-intensive process of laminating layers of resin and fibers on top of molds. Zhang and Yao propose to work on a different method: using 3D printers to print initially flat FRC structures that can self-assemble into targeted 3D shapes when residual stresses are released – a process called 4D printing.


Read the full article Zhang and Yao earn MFI award for 4D printing by Kathryn Anne Quelle on the Mechanical Engineering website