New Printable Polymer Materials Have Military Application Prospects

According to the news on the U.S. website on August 18, the research and development team led by Dr. Frank Gardea, chief researcher and aerospace engineer of the US Army Research Laboratory, announced in the "Advanced Functional Materials" magazine that they have created a 3D printed, stimulus-responsive polymer material-special epoxy resin.
The material is expected to reconstruct future military platforms and bring new possibilities for transforming unmanned aerial vehicles and robotics. Dr. Gardea pointed out that Army researchers envisioned a future platform that would be suitable for both air and ground missions. Dr. Gardea said: "We want to create a material system that can provide structure, sensing and response functions at the same time."
Currently, the stimulus that makes this material respond is a temperature factor. The temperature was chosen as the condition because it is relatively easy to use in laboratory tests. In the real world, implementing temperature stimulation is not easy and impractical. Therefore, they have introduced light stimulation that is easier to control and remotely apply.

This new material has a dynamic bond that can change from liquid to solid many times, so it has 3D printing and recycling properties. In addition, the dynamic key also gives this material a unique shape memory behavior, through which the material can be programmed and returned to the memory shape when triggered. The flexibility of the polymer chain allows this material to be fine-tuned in unprecedented ways to achieve the softness of rubber or the strength of a load-bearing plastic.
Dr. Bryan Glaz, deputy chief scientist of the Laboratory Vehicle Technology Council, said that most of the previous research on adaptive materials was developed for material systems. For structural applications, they are either too soft or not suitable for platform development. Therefore, turning the research object to epoxy resin is groundbreaking in some respects.
Dr. Glaz emphasized that the scientific results of the research team marked "the first step on the long road to realize the scientific prospects of the Deep Future Platform". Next, the researchers also hope to introduce multi-reactivity and make the material respond to stimuli other than temperature and light.

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