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Research projects

Alex Francis developed a novel security key system as a tamper-proof seal. The fully working mechanical prototype was built from scratch. Central to this project was the use of specially treated 4D Printed material in which a specific temperature would be required to disengage the lock. The use of 3D Printing could allow for an infinite number of shapes to be randomly generated so that no single key would be exact. This project was undertaken in collaboration with BAE Systems Applied Intelligence. Alex graduated in 2017. First supervisor: Eujin Pei

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Jinghua Li experimented with the use of the shape memory effect of 4D printed parts to design a self-locking wing system in which a single printed part can perform transformations without the need for actuators and linkages. This allows weight and space to be saved, thereby simplifying the overall structure of the drone. The fully working mechanical prototype was built from scratch. This project was undertaken in collaboration with BAE Systems Applied Intelligence. Jinghua graduated in 2018. First supervisor: Eujin Pei

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The aim of this project was to develop, process and experiment with thermoplastic polyurethane as a shape memory material. We ascertained the properties of this material through extrusion-based additive manufacturing processes and produced parts for testing. The results showed that the characteristics of the 3D printed parts successfully retain the property of the shape memory and the recovery force allows this to be utilised as a mechanical actuator. The recovery stress was recorded to be between 0.45 and 0.61 MPa (at feed rate 990 mm/min). We also designed and produced a coil as an actuator to demonstrate that the same material can be extended to other applications.

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