ETH Zürich Develops Bioinspired 3D-Printed Recyclable Materials

Published by , September 21, 2018 12:22 pm

(ETHZurich) Researchers at ETH Zürich have developed a bioinspired approach to 3D print recyclable materials using cheap desktop printers that outperform state-of-the-art printed polymers and rival the highest performance lightweight materials. This will finally enable the manufacturing of complex parts that mimic natural structural designs on the mass market.
The researchers were inspired by spider silk and wood during the development of these structures. Spider silk gets its unrivalled mechanical properties from the high degree of molecular alignment of the silk proteins along the fibre directions. First, it was possible to reproduce this high alignment during the extrusion from an FDM nozzle by using a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) as an FDM feedstock material, resulting in unprecedented mechanical properties in the deposition direction. Second, the anisotropic fibre properties were utilised by tailoring the local orientation of the print path according to the specific loading conditions imposed by the environment.

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