Not only solids, but also liquid structures can be printed in 3D

Not only solids, but also liquid structures can be printed in 3D

Scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of energy have developed a new chemical method, that is, in one liquid, the scaffold controls another liquid, so that the controlled liquid forms a tubular structure. This method of using all liquid printing 3D structure can be used to print liquid electronic equipment to provide power for flexible and stretchable equipment. The relevant research report has been published in a journal called advanced materials.

The researchers dispersed gold nanoparticles into water and polymer ligands into silicone oil, and then injected threaded water into silicone oil with an improved 3D printer – making one liquid form a threaded carving structure in another. Soon after water is injected into silicone oil, many ligands in silicone oil are attached to gold nanoparticles in water, forming a nanoparticle ultrafiltration membrane at the boundary of tubular water column, which can prevent the water pipe from breaking into droplets, stabilize the water oil interface and lock the water in an appropriate position.

Tom Russell, a scientist in the Department of Materials Science in the laboratory, said that this stability can stretch water into pipes or turn water into ellipsoids. They have printed waterlines between 10 microns and 1 mm in diameter and formed them into various spiral and branch shapes up to several meters. Moreover, these materials can adapt to the surrounding environment and change shape repeatedly.

“This is a new material that can be redesigned and may be customized into a liquid reaction vessel as needed for chemical synthesis, ion transport, catalysis and so on,” Russell said

In order to automate the new liquid printing process, the researchers installed a syringe pump and liquid extrusion needle on a ready-made 3D printer. The 3D printer is specially programmed to insert the needle into the oil-based solvent to inject water and form a 3D model.