Light provides control for 3D printing with multiple materials
“3D printing has revolutionized the fields of healthcare, biomedical engineering, manufacturing and art design.
Successful applications have come despite the fact that most 3D printing techniques can only produce parts made of one material at a time. More complex applications could be developed if 3D printers could use different materials and create multi-material parts.
New research uses different wavelengths of light to achieve this complexity. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a novel 3D printer that uses patterns of visible and ultraviolet light to dictate which of two monomers are polymerized to form a solid material. Different patterns of light provide the spatial control necessary to yield multi-material parts. The work was published Feb. 15 in the journal Nature Communications.
“As amazing as 3D printing is, in many cases it only offers one color with which to paint,” says UW-Madison Professor of Chemistry A.J. Boydston, who led the recent work with his graduate student Johanna Schwartz. “The field needs a full color palette.”
Boydston and Schwartz knew that improved printing materials required a chemical approach to complement engineering advances.”
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