Scientists from the University of Carnegie Mellon, under the guidance of assistant professor Lining Yao, expanded the physical capabilities of conventional newsprint, covering it with patterns of conductive thermoplastic. After they passed an electric current through the paper, it literally “came to life” – it began to bend, fold, and re-smooth.
The thermoplastic is a half-millimeter-long filament from a commercially available composite polyvalent graphene that is applied to conventional coated paper using an inexpensive 3D printer. The processed sheet of paper is then heated in the oven or with a heat gun, then folded into the desired shape and then cooled.
To make it move, electric wires are connected to it. With energizing, the electrically conductive plastic is heated and the paper, folded into a specific shape, acquires mobility.
Currently, scientists are experimenting with changing the width of the fibers, which allows for various new effects in changing the paper configuration and the rate of change.“We seem to rediscover this old material,” Yao said. “Finding mobility, the paper turns into another physical environment with unusual properties.”
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