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Researchers Develop Way to 3D Print with Liquid-Crystal Polymers

Written by Paul

September 25, 2018

A team of researchers at ETH Zürich in Switzerland has developed an approach to 3D print recyclable materials using cheap desktop printers that outperform state-of-the-art printed polymers and rival the highest performance lightweight materials. An example of 3D-printed LCP part with complex fiber architecture and geometry: an impact-resistant Bouligand-type structure with twisted plywood arrangement of printed fibers. Image credit: Gantenbein et al, doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0474-7. Fiber-reinforced polymer structures are often used when stiff lightweight materials are required, such as in aircraft, vehicles and biomedical implants. Despite their very high stiffness and strength, such lightweight materials require energy- and labor-intensive fabrication processes, exhibit typically brittle fracture and are difficult to shape and recycle. This is in stark contrast to lightweight biological materials such as bone, silk and wood, which form by directed self-assembly into complex, hierarchically structured shapes with outstanding mechanical properties and are circularly integrated into the environment. ETH Zürich […]

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