Self-Assembly Lab, MIT + Carbitex LLC + Autodesk Inc.
Project Team: Skylar Tibbits, Athina Papadopoulou, Christophe Guberan, Carrie McKnelly, Chris Martin, Filipe Campos, Hannarae Annie Nam
Carbon fiber is traditionally characterized by high stiffness, tensile strength, and low weight, making it advantageous for many industrial applications. We have programmed carbon fiber to transform autonomously by printing active material on fully cured flexible carbon fiber and applying heat as an activator. The Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) Morphing Supercar Wing and the Airbus Engine Flap demonstrate industry-specific applications of programmable material technology. In each, a single piece of programmable carbon fiber transforms its shape to create aerodynamic advantage and tunable performance. Contrary to traditional mechanical activation, this method requires no complex electronics, sensors, or actuators; it decreases the total weight and minimizes failure-prone mechanisms.