Polystyrene is traditionally characterized by high stiffness, tensile strength, and low weight, making it advantageous for many industrial applications. I have programmed polystyrene to transform autonomously by printing active material on fully cured flexible polystyrene and applying heat as an activator. In each, a single piece of plastic 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.
Flat sheets of custom printed polystyrene can be designed to self-transform in controlled and unique ways. While I used light as
a medium for activation, I imagine that I can also create polystyrene composites that radically adapt to extreme environmental conditions.