Researchers use 3D printer to reinforce concrete

In a new development, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a new method to reinforce concrete using a polymer lattice. The advancement is such it could rival other polymer-based improvements, and improve ductility of concrete while reducing carbon emissions of the material.

For the study, the research team employed a 3D printer to create octet lattices using polymer, and then pack them with concrete that has ultra-high performance. Meanwhile, the strength of ultra-high performance concrete is four times than that of conventional concrete in compression. In fact, the reinforced material performed well in tests of four-point bending and compression.

Physical Attributes of Concrete makes it widely used

Reported in the journal Materials and Design, the technique could increase the appeal of concrete. In fact, concrete is one of the most widely used man-made materials, and one of the most used consumed substances in the world. And, it is abundant, cheap, and strong in compression capable of resisting excessively heavy loads.

However, concrete is known to be weak in tension. It is brittle and will begin to split when pulled apart. Therefore, if reinforcement is not used, a concrete structure could undergo catastrophic failure and break apart without warning.

Meanwhile, since the middle of the 19th century, concrete has been reinforced using steel rebar. However, the strength of steel has some downsides. It is expensive to produce, heavy, labor-intensive to install and degrades over time. To address this, today, a growing community of engineers are exploring the potential to reinforce concrete with polymers. This class of polymers are appealing because they are lightweight, corrosion free, and are cheap to produce due to an abundance of recyclable materials.

“For brittle material, it can hold up to a certain peak load and then fails,” said co-author of the study.

Handheld 3D Printer to Treat Severe Skin Burns

Burn wound is something that all of us have gone through at least once in our life.  Generally, the minor burns are treatable at home or with a little medical assistance.  However, when it comes to major burns, one needs to be totally dependent on help from the expert healthcare providers. A latest research carried out at the University of Toronto Engineering and Sunnybrook Hospital offers a probability of a promising treatment for burn wounds.

Advanced Burn Care to Accelerate the Healing Process

Scientists stated that they have developed an advanced tool named handheld 3D printer. It is useful in covering the burned part of an individual with skin sheets. Generally, even deposition of skin sheets helps in covering the burned area of large wounds. Scientists stated that the bio ink from these sheets helps in speeding up the healing process. The latest research is accessible in the journal Biofrabrication. Besides, the new device holds the capability to replace “autologous grafting,” the most widespread method presently employed for the treatment of burn wounds. In autologous grafting, the skin is taken from the other part of body to transplant it on the injured area.

Furthermore, scientists explained that the bio ink used in the latest device uses mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs). These cells support skin regeneration and minimize the scarring effects. Richard Cheng, Project Lead, highlighted the need of improvement in the present version of the model. He added that some modifications in the present model can advance its scarring-reduction capacity exceptionally.

Moreover, the device will be in the clinical setting in the upcoming 5 years on the successful completion of the project as per the plan. Dr Marc Jeschke, Project Collaborator, stated, “I believe this printer will be a game changer in saving lives once it is employed in an operating room. With such type of devices, it could change the entirety of how we practice trauma and burn care.”