Harvard University successfully developed a super multi-material printhead!

An active hybrid printhead nozzle with a rotary pusher, each liquid entering a narrow mixing chamber through a different inlet and mixing instantaneously under the action of a rotating vane.

3D printing is a revolution in the production of lightweight structures, flexible robots and flexible electronics, but it is still difficult to print complex multi-material integrated products. Recently, Harvard University scientists designed a new multi-material printhead that mixes and prints concentrated, viscoelastic “ink” materials that simultaneously control composition and geometry during the printing process. The printhead changes the material composition during operation through an active mixing, fast-switching nozzle, paving the way for fully 3D printed wearables and electronics.

To print a device that contains both soft materials that move with the knees and hard electronic components, ideal 3D printers can seamlessly transition from soft materials to hard materials, and circuits with different conductivity and different resistances. And the ability to accurately switch between inks, and to perform all of these tasks without interruption - this ability to integrate different materials and properties in the printed product is the next frontier of 3D printing.

The study was led by Jennifer Lewis, a professor of biomimetic engineering at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). According to the researchers, the basis for printing a variety of materials is the mixing of complex liquids. Most of the methods used in the past were passive, that is, letting two liquids diffuse and mix, which is difficult for high-viscosity liquids, especially in small volume and short time. . They designed an active hybrid multi-material printhead with a rotary thruster that effectively mixes multiple complex liquids.

Thomas Obo, the first author of the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at the Weiss Institute at Harvard University, said: "Experiments have shown that active microfluidic mixers can mix a variety of materials." They have created hybrid printheads that can print a variety of materials. Three-dimensional pattern. For example, elastic silicone can be seamlessly printed into a gradient structure composed of a soft zone and a hard zone, and this structure has a large number of applications in flexible electronic devices and wearable devices. It also prints reactive materials, such as AB glue (two-part epoxy), which hardens when the two parts combine. In addition, conductive and resistive inks can be mixed as needed to embed circuitry in 3D printed objects.

Related papers were published in the recent National Academy of Sciences.

The printer equipped with the computer was initially needle-type - the needle-striped coloring tape knocked out many points on the white paper; later, the inkjet printer came out, the color of several ink cartridges could be mixed with true color, and finally it was able to draw. Shortly after the invention of the 3D printer, the work of the 3D printer was a little simpler; the new model developed this time can spray the complex structure with the “mesh in the needle”. Future improvements will make 3D printers truly capable of engravers and craftsmen.

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