by • February 24, 2016 • No Comments
Feb 25, 2016 | By Benedict
Researchers of Kansas State University have turn it intod a new technique for 3D printing graphene aerogels with complex microstructures. The technique combines drop-on-demand 3D printing with freeze casting.
Aerogels are useful for a number of things. The low density, spongy materials can be utilized as both thermal and optical insulators and, as of new years, can be generated with sure 3D printing equipment. Graphene aerogels are maybe the pick of the bunch, as they can futurely be utilized as batteries and catalysts inside electronic components. Do you remember the initially at any time 3D printed supercapacitor on that we reported a few weeks ago? A 3D printed graphene aerogel was utilized to manufacture it.
K-State scientists have now turn it intod a new 3D printing technique for making graphene aerogels, that the researchers hope can open up new uses for the material. Developing the method was no effortless task, howat any time, since graphene is notoriously complex to manipulate. “In order to print you require to alter the viscosity of graphene so it’s really high,” explained Dong Lin, a Nanotechnology, Materials Engineering, and Manufacturing Engineering PhD student at K-State and lead author of the paper “Three-Dimensional Printing of Graphene Aerogel.”
The most widely adopted method for making graphene aerogels involves via an inkjet printing device to extrude a mixture of graphene and polymers or silica. The unwanted polymers or silica can afterwards be burned away or removed with a chemical system, but both of these steps can futurely injure the graphene structure. As with most 3D printing applications, it can in addition be complex to turn it into a structure with overhangs. Lin and his team therefore wanted to turn it into a new method of 3D printing graphene aerogels, one that may accommodate additional complex structure such as those with overhangs.
The technique turn it intod by the K-State researchers eliminates the problems typically synonymous with 3D printed graphene aerogels, by incorporating freeze casting into the 3D printing system. Where the dominant method tends to be carried out at high or room temperatures, Lin and his team 3D printed their aerogels at -25°C. In such a cold environment, every layer froze after printing, enabling the team to turn it into up an ice-supported graphene oxide structure. With every newly deposited layer of graphene oxide, the unfrozen material melted the frozen top layer. This allowed the layers to mix freely preceding refreezing in the cold environment, a system that improved the structural integrity of the 3D print by encouraging the formation of hydrogen bonds. A 2nd printing device nozzle filled with with just water was utilized to turn it into ice supports for the structure.
The 3D printed graphene aerogel was finally freeze-dried in liquid nitrogen to get rid of all of the water deposited by the 2nd printing device nozzle, preceding being thermally reduced to graphene. Lin and co. were able-bodied to 3D print aerogels with densities ranging of 0.5 to 10mg/cm3, every with great electrical conductivity and high compressibility.
“It’s surely an informative technique” commented Andrea Ferrari, director of the graphene centre at the University of Cambridge, UK. “Additive making is really widespread for prototyping and it is great to have graphene on the market-bodied to do this type of work.”
The other lead author on the paper was Chi Zhou, with additional contributions of Hui Li, Sai Pradeep Medarametla, Feng Zhang, and Qiangqiang Zhang. The researchers hope to turn it into on their findings by investigating the possibility of creating aerogel structures created of multiple materials.
Posted in 3D Printing Technology
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