3D printing is now used in different applications such as entertainment, healthcare, education, architecture, prototyping, and design visualization. As 3D printing technology evolves and develops, researchers are discovering that they can use 3D printers in coming up with custom end products, computer-aided tissue engineering, and in biotechnological uses.
You can now find 3D printing in various forms of layering and in the materials used. Some thin layers or liquid form while some softer material which is reshaped and later attached simultaneously. 3D printing also uses different materials such as rubber, metal and thermoplastics. New technologies like incorporating carbon fibers into plastic, make a lighter material strong.
One of the wonder materials that has fast gained traction is graphene. Graphene is a single atomic layer of carbon atoms made in a hexagonal lattice. It’s regarded as a miracle material as it has a wide array of properties such as flexibility, transparency, and conductivity.
Nanocomposite materials that are graphene enhances to improve conventional items used in printing 3D. The nanoplatelets are combined to the polymers to enhance their strength as well as improve electrical and thermal conductivity.
Research on Graphene
A research conducted at North Western University in 2015 discovered a way to print 3D structures using graphene nanoflakes by coming up with a graphene ink that can be used to print strong and huge 3D structures. This method may create opportunities for use in other medical applications and graphene printed scaffolds.
Researchers at Michigan University also used 3D bio printing techniques to print 3D substitute nerves. The researchers developed polymer materials which acted as a scaffold for growing tissue. The group is now working to incorporate graphene as an electrical conductor.
In July 2016, the University of Manchester announced the release of graphene enabled systems. These systems featured a range of consumer and industrial products based on graphene. The information in this announcement gave an insight as to where graphene research will be like in the future.
Some the insights covered include:
- Graphene’s capability to improve the mechanical performance of composites.
- Development of protection and corrosion systems.
- Production of membranes that willow selective filtration of molecules and ions.
- Application of graphene and inkjet printing systems.
5 Things You Need to Know About Graphene
- Graphene is a 2D layer of carbon atoms that form a hexagonal pattern. The material is extracted from graphite and it’s said to be as light as a feather and two hundred times stronger than steel.
- Its two-dimensional makeup and amazing strength make graphene impermeable to liquids and gases. Scientists are working to use it as a selective water filter which could cut down costs associated with desalination techniques.
- Being a highly disruptive technology, graphene has numerous traits that have attracted industry leaders, policy makers, and even scientists.
- Electrons made from graphene are mobile and this could mean that computer chips made from this material are able to process data at a higher rate while at the same time cutting high energy costs.
- Graphene is pliable, meaning that you can bend it and it will still retain its incredible strength. Researchers are finding ways to incorporate graphene in touch screen technology to make screens more durable and flexible.
The only downside with graphene is that the process of manufacturing high-quality graphene is intense and manual as it needs a lot of toxic chemicals and a large amount of energy to complete the process. This means creating consumer viable products would be too expensive. However, the 3D lab’s new process of creating graphene is low cost, toxic free, and automated. This could make graphene one of the highest sought materials across various industries.
Graphene is guaranteed to amuse and amaze for years to come. If you haven’t thought of graphene before, this may be the perfect time to jump into this bandwagon.