3D Printing Technique Uses Microfluidics

Engineers have created a novel 3D printing method that enables the printing of flexible materials with precise tuning. The group successfully printed materials using a droplet-based, multiphase microfluidic system with possible uses in soft robotics, tissue engineering, and wearable technology.

Until the product is finished, printing material is repeatedly added to the structure using conventional extrusion-based 3D printers. Although this is effective and economical, it makes it difficult to print structures made of multiple materials, and it can be difficult to achieve the ideal level of flexibility.

Additionally, the group demonstrated how flexible porous objects and constructs made of encapsulated polymer particles and metal droplets could be created using the droplet-based 3D printing method. Adjusting the droplet size and flow rate allows structure flexibility to be readily adjusted. With the conventional nozzle-based approach, it is challenging for researchers to design their structure and change flexibility to suit their requirements. It provides them with a wide range of options.

Even though droplet-based multiphase emulsion 3D printing has been attempted before, the team is the first to employ it. The group is already investigating possible uses and discovering what other material combinations they can employ to modify the mechanical or chemical properties of 3D-printed goods. Researchers believe the research could have applications in bioprinting and wearable devices, such as smart fabrics.

Read more

Related Content: Gas-Liquid Interfaces – Nanoscale Fabrication