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Kyungsuk Yum, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, has been awarded a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Development Program grant to design and develop bioinspired 3D materials with programmed shapes and motions. Yum’s approach uses temperature-responsive hydrogels with locally programmable properties that allow him to spatially program how the hydrogels swell or shrink in response to external signals, such as light. He uses a digital light 4D printing method he developed that includes three dimensions plus time.
Kyungsuk Yum. Courtesy of UT Arlington.
Using this approach, Yum can print multiple 3D structures simultaneously in a one-step process. He mathematically programs the structures’ shrinking and swelling to form 3D shapes, such as saddle shapes, wrinkles, and cones, and their direction.
He has developed design rules based on the concept of modularity to create even more complex structures, including dynamic, bioinspired structures with programmed sequential motions. He can control the speed at which the structures change shape and thus create complex, sequential motion, such as how a stingray swims in the ocean.
Bioinspired 3D structures. Courtesy of UT Arlington.
The Faculty Early Career Development Program is the NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty.