Glass can also be 3D printed

- Jun 01, 2020-

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are studying a new process of additive manufacturing of fine glass: 3D printing technology is used to create beautiful and possibly more versatile glass.


The melting chamber operates at a temperature of approximately 1900 ° F and can contain enough material to make a glass structure device. The molten material flows down through a nozzle made of alumina-zircon-silicon.


The 3D printed glass process developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Mediated Materials team in conjunction with the school's Department of Mechanical Engineering, Wise Research Institute and Glass Laboratory is called "G3DP", and the resulting product is called additive manufacturing of optically transparent glass . According to the physicist organization network recently reported, the main research field of the mediating substance team is bionic design and manufacturing tools and technology, which aims to combine computer science, materials engineering and design together to explore new design process innovations.


The traditional glass manufacturing process includes processes such as molding, forming, blowing, electroplating or sintering. The product quality is closely related to the manufacturing technology level. From the discovery of the core forming process of making glass beads in ancient Egypt, through the metal tube blowing process invented in the Roman era, to the modern Pilkington float process that can produce large-size flat glass, every new breakthrough in glass manufacturing technology It is the result of long-term experiment and innovation. The research team's "G3DP" process is the same. They use an additive manufacturing platform to manufacture optically transparent glass through a 3D printing process.


The design basis of "G3DP" is a double-layer heating chamber, the upper layer is used as a melting furnace chamber, and the lower layer is used for annealing. Brian Krasentern of 3D Print.com said: "The working principle of this machine is very simple. The top of the printer is mainly a small melting kiln. The user can put the glass in. At a certain temperature, about 1900 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1038 degrees Celsius), it is easy to melt the glass in it. The printed part below is a nozzle made of alumina-zircon-silicon, function and common desktop fused deposition modeling 3D The hot end of the printer is similar. The molten glass flows down from the melting furnace, squeezes through a nozzle on a production table, and slowly cools and hardens. If you want to stop printing, just use compressed air to reduce the nozzle temperature. "


Researchers said that they will select some glass products to be exhibited next year at the Smithsonian Design Museum-Cooper Hewitt Museum. The related paper "Additive Manufacturing Optical Clear Glass" will be published in the magazine "3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing" published in September.


3D printing technology is now becoming the darling of industry and science. After printing the house, pistol and other supplies, researchers at MIT began to 3D print the glass. However, unlike ordinary 3D printing, this glass printing technology aims to perfectly combine computer technology, material technology and design, and its glass manufacturing platform will enable glass manufacturing technology to reach a new height in history. This interdisciplinary research proves that the improvement of manufacturing technology, in addition to simply achieving breakthroughs in this field, and reasonable integration with new technologies in other fields can also bring new results. This will also be continuously verified in future technological development.