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3D-printed objects created entirely from wood cellulose

3D-printed objects created entirely from wood cellulose

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have managed to print and dry three-dimensional objects made entirely by cellulose for the first time with the help of a 3D-bioprinter. They also added carbon nanotubes to create electrically conductive material. 

The effect is that cellulose and other raw material based on wood will be able to compete with fossil-based plastics and metals in the on-going additive manufacturing revolution, which started with the introduction of the 3D-printer.

The difficulty using cellulose in additive manufacturing is that cellulose does not melt when heated. Therefore, the 3D printers and processes designed for printing plastics and metals cannot be used for materials like cellulose. 

The Chalmers researchers solved this problem by mixing cellulose nanofibrils in a hydrogel consisting of 95-99% water. The gel could then in turn be dispensed with high fidelity into the researchers’ 3D bioprinter. 

The next challenge was to dry the printed gel-like objects without them losing their three-dimensional shape.

Click here for source (Chalmers University of Technology)

Photo: Peter Widing

 

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