Out of the materials which can be 3D-printed, glass remains the most challenging to deal with. But that is going to change soon thanks to the ETH Zurich research centre scientists in Switzerland. They are working on changing this with a unique and allegedly more trustworthy glass printing method.
While it is already probable to 3D-print glass items, the most regularly-utilized procedures include either projecting molten glass. It also involves selectively sintering ceramic powder to change it into glass.
The previous includes high temperatures and therefore it needs heat-resistant equipment. But the latter cannot generate specifically complicated items.
The ETH process is created to address all of these faults.
It includes a photosensitive resin that is created of a fluid plastic together with organic molecules. This is where the silicon-containing particles are bonded. By this, it means they are ceramic particles.
Using a present procedure called Digital Light Processing, the resin is bared to a design of ultraviolet light. Every time the light touches the resin, the plastic monomers cross-link to create a solid polymer. The polymer features a labyrinth-like inner composition. The structure has spaces in the labyrinth that is being loaded by ceramic particles.
The outcome three-dimensional item is consequently lighted at a heat of 600 ºC which is 1,112 ºF. Therefore, it burns the polymer away leaving just the ceramic behind. For the second lighting, the one at around 1,000 ºC which is 1,832 ºF. The ceramic, therefore, densifies into a clear, permeable glass. The item doesn’t shrink significantly since it is changed into glass. This is a factor that needs to be allowed for in the design procedure.
While the objects made up to this point have been hug than a die, they are considerably compact in shape. Furthermore, it is probable to tweak the size of the pore by changing the UV light intensity. Other glass features can be modified by combing the borate of phosphate into a resin.
A leading Swiss glassware merchant has already expressed interest in using the technology. This is a bit similar to a method being created at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.