A research terams at City University of Hong Kong has developed the world's first four-dimensional or 4D printing for ceramics, footage filmed on Thursday shows.

Professor Lu Jian, who led project, said the high-melting point of ceramics complicate their casting and shaping with conventional laser-printing techniques. Existing 3D-printed ceramic precursors are usually difficult to deform, hindering the production of ceramics with complex shapes.

Lu revealed his team has developed a new "ceramic ink," a mixture of polymers and ceramic nanoparticles, to overcome these challenges. The 3D-printed ceramic precursors printed with this ink are soft and can be stretched three times beyond their initial length, enabling complex shapes, such as origami folding.

What makes differentiates 4D printing from its predecessr, is the additional element of time as the fourth dimension. Printed objects can now transform over time through interactions with the environment, such as mechanical force, temperature or a magnetic field.

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