In recent years, more and more attentions have been attracted on integrating three-dimensional (3D) printing with fields (such as magnetic field) or innovating new methods to reap the full potential of 3D printing in manufacturing high-quality parts and processing nano-scaled composites. Among all of newly innovated methods, four-dimensional (4D) printing has been proved to be an effective way of creating dynamic components from simple structures. Common feeding materials in 4D printing include shape memory hydrogels, shape memory polymers, and shape memory alloys. However, few attempts have been made on 4D printing of ceramic materials to shape ceramics into intricate structures, owing to ceramics’ inherent brittleness nature. Facing this problem, this investigation aims at filling the gap between 4D printing and fabrication of complex ceramic structures. Inspired by swelling-and-shrinking-induced self-folding, a 4D printing method is innovated to add an additional shape change of ceramic structures by controlling ZrO2 contents and patterns. Experimental results evidenced that by deliberately controlling ZrO2 contents and patterns, 3D-printed ceramic parts would undergo bending and twisting during the sintering process. To demonstrate the capabilities of this method, more complex structures (such as a flower-like structure) were fabricated. In addition, functional parts with magnetic behaviors were 4D-printed by incorporating iron into the PDMS-ZrO2 ink.

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