According to the new study, researchers have developed new ways to 3D print complex objects. These objects are used in battery and aerospace industries and are made of highest performing materials. Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Virginia Tech have developed this innovative process. Prior to this research, the researchers could only print this material, known as graphene in 2D sheet or with basic structure. Now, the engineers from Virginia Tech are co-working on a project in which they use 3D print graphene objects. These objects are now used at a higher resolution and on greater magnitude that was never used before.
Graphene is one of the strongest material ever tested on Earth. It also possess high electricity and thermal conductivity, that is why it is highly desired in industries, including heat management, aerospace, batteries, separation, sensors, and catalysis.
Graphene is made up of single layer of carbon atom systematically arranged in a hexagonal grid. When graphene sheets are placed neatly on layered on each other and forms a three dimensional shape, it turns a graphite, most commonly used in pencils.
Director of the Advanced Manufacturing and Metamaterials Lab and an assistance professor of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering, Xiaoyu “Rayne” Zheng, said that designers could now design three-dimensional topology made up of graphene sheets.
He also added by saying, with the help of this novel design and manufacturing freedom will lead to optimization of conductivity, strength, mass transport, and weight density that aren’t attainable in graphene aerogel.
A popular research firm has forecasted a 10.0% of the people living in the developed world to have 3D-printed items in or on their bodies by 2019. Furthermore, over a third of surgical procedures incorporating the use of implanted devices and prosthetics could involve 3D printing as a central tool. Another research company has estimated the 3D printing market to grow from a US$0.66 bn in 2016 to a US$1.21 bn by 2020. 3D printing in healthcare has been prognosticated to bear a transformative impact of the cloud or the World Wide Web. Besides organ models, 3D printers could be engaged in healthcare to produce human skin, drugs, prosthetics, hearing aids, and medical and dental implants.
3D Printing Now More Cost-efficient, Faster, and of Higher Quality
Mayo Clinic has arranged onsite printing laboratories in association with 3D printer makers such as Formlabs, 3D Systems, and Stratasys. Even Johnson & Johnson and General Electric Co. have dived into the trend of 3D printing. J&J has been focusing on a broad scope of materials that could be employed as an ink to print custom-made objects. GE, on the other hand, has been looking to translate images into 3D objects and focus on 3D printers.
Industrial 3D printers engaged by hospitals could be priced between a US$10,000 to US$400,000. Moreover, the hidden cost of operating 3D printers is prophesied to hinder the growth of the market. However, there could be valuable cost savings in other areas such as significant time reduction during surgeries, less waste and fewer middlemen in the supply chain, and no need for replacements due to the customized nature of implants created from 3D printers.