The opportunities of 3D printing organic compounds (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 46)

3D printing is still struggling to overcome issues regarding biodegradability and its ecological impact. We’ve been using materials for thousands of years that are of natural origin and can easily be disposed of. It’s been a challenge to translate that to the latest manufacturing tech around. Cellulose is having a comeback, as researchers are understanding how to create polymer structures from abundant and renewable raw materials. A new group of new biomaterials is being developed, some with transient properties, capable of degrading and dissolving on-demand. Nanocellulose has been invented in the 1970s as a food thickener and could be coming to a dish near you, made more palatable thanks to 3D printing. Advances in chemistry collide with the challenges of 3D printing to open the way for complex, smart and immensely useful organic materials.

MIT Develops Method To 3D Print Abundant Natural Polymer Cellulose

Diagram showing a) printing process b) process under a microscope c) extruded filament d) mini glasses e) mini rose. Image via Advanced Science News.

MIT scientists Dr. Sebastian Pattinson and Prof A.J. Hart have now published a possible method of 3D printing a derivative of cellulose as a substitute for environmentally problematic plastics, one which sidesteps previously encountered problems. […] As detailed in the research paper, after printing, the cellulose acetate parts can be converted to cellulose proper by de-acetylation using sodium hydroxide.

Read the full article here.

3D Printed Biomaterials Degrade on Demand

Biomaterials that can degrade on demand have been 3D printed by engineers at Brown University. The materials were fabricated by means of stereolithographic printing, which uses an ultraviolet laser controlled by a computer-aided design system to trace patterns across the surface of a photoactive polymer solution. The capacity of the materials to degrade is imparted by the development of reversible ionic bonds. Precursor solutions were prepared with sodium alginate, a compound derived from seaweed that is known to be capable of ionic crosslinking. Different combinations of ionic salts, including magnesium, barium and calcium, were then added to 3D print objects with varying stiffness levels, a factor which affected how quickly the structures dissolved.

Read more about the research here.

Can 3D Printed Nanocellulose Transform The Food Industry?

Cellulose is a natural ingredient, but would you necessarily want to eat it? Diagram of the nanocellulose extraction process via bio1151.nicerweb

The Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the latest institution to introduce a nanocellulose-based platform that promises “the 3D printing of personalized food” with the added ability “to cook, bake, fry and grill while printing at the three dimensional space.”

Read the full article here.

 

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3D printing & the environment: promises and limitations of AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 39)

There are a lot of manufacturing dynamics which 3D printing is upending. It goes beyond design freedom, AM technologies allow us to be a lot more conscious of our footprint on the environment. We are still testing new grounds and so far AM is revealing to be a less wasteful, smarter approach to manufacturing. Not only can we build structures that utilize the barest minimum in terms of material usage, entirely new materials and techniques allow us to tackle the problems of biodegradability and energy consumption. Nonetheless, AM still has a way to go before it can get to the level of manufacturing performance of traditional methods. Laser sintering still requires a great deal of electricity to fuse metal particles, most processes are imprecise by traditional standards and most groundbreaking AM applications are still very much R&D. This point reinforces the fact that AM should cover its role in a broader hybrid manufacturing system, in which the optimal outcome in terms of manufacturing footprint and item accuracy can be achieved. There is no holy grail solution in manufacturing, just an ever expanding toolset to give you the right means to get optimal ends.

3D Printhuset Lays Foundations For 3D Printed Office-Hotel in Copenhagen

A rendering of the finished BOD. Image via: 3D Printhuset.

Building on Demand (BOD), the latest venture of Danish firm 3D Printhuset, marks a major breakthrough for additive manufacturing in construction. The concrete office-hotel structure, occupying just under 50m of floor-space, is due to be 3D printed in Nordhaven, Copenhagen’s docklands area, and will be Western Europe’s first inhabitable 3D printed buildingJakob Jørgensen, Technical Manager at 3D Printhuset, explained in a press release that 3D printing the building over traditional construction meant that “complex forms can be entered at no additional cost”, while Michael Holm, the company’s development manager, emphasized the use of up-cycling and waste reduction in building materials.

Read the full article here.

3D Printed Biomaterials Degrade on Demand

Researchers 3D-printed intricate temporary microstructures that can be degraded on demand using a biocompatible chemical trigger. (Credit: Wong Lab / Brown University)

Biomaterials that can degrade on demand have been 3D printed by engineers at Brown University. The materials were fabricated by means of stereolithographic printing […]. The capacity of the materials to degrade is imparted by the development of reversible ionic bonds. Precursor solutions were prepared with sodium alginate, a compound derived from seaweed that is known to be capable of ionic crosslinking. Different combinations of ionic salts, including magnesium, barium and calcium, were then added to 3D print objects with varying stiffness levels, a factor which affected how quickly the structures dissolved.

“The idea is that the attachments between polymers should come apart when the ions are removed, which we can do by adding a chelating agent that grabs all the ions,” said assistant professor Ian Wong. “This way we can pattern transient structures that dissolve away when we want them to.”

Read the full at IEEE.

Research Breakthrough: Cold Sintering

Researchers in Penn State’s Materials Research Institute, led by Clive Randall, recently discovered a process that could revolutionize the manufacturing industry. Known as cold sintering, the process could be used for developing materials we use every day, such as bricks and glass, at a much lower energy cost than the process used today. The researchers have shown their new process can be used to make at least 50 materials, and they are continuing to expand their research to incorporate additional materials.

 

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