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Producing Glass with a 3D Printer

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Glass objects created with a three-dimensional printer.

ETH Zurich researchers used three-dimensional printing to manufacture complex and porous glass objects.

Credit: Group for Complex Materials/ETH Zurich

Researchers at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich employed three-dimensional (3D) printing to manufacture complex and porous glass objects using an ultraviolet (UV)-light-cured resin.

The resin contains a polymer and organic molecules to which glass precursors are bonded; exposing the resin to UV light causes solidification.

The researchers can adjust various parameters in each material layer by varying the UV light's intensity to shrink or enlarge pores.

They also can perform layer-by-layer microstructure modification by adding a mix of silica and borate or phosphate to the resin. By firing the resulting blank at 600 degrees and then at about 1,000 degrees Celsius, the researchers can burn away the polymer, then densify the ceramic scaffold into glass, causing the objects to shrink, becoming hard and transparent.

The researchers were trying to demonstrate the feasibility of 3D-printing glass objects with complex geometries.

From ETH Zurich
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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