Study Demonstrates Printable Wood-Based Ink That Creates Complex Shapes

Aug, 2022 - By SMI

Study Demonstrates Printable Wood-Based Ink That Creates Complex Shapes

Researchers created new technology that uses a wood-based ink that 3D prints into flat shapes that later take form of even more complex 3D forms when they dry out.

Creating wooden objects such as furniture requires lot of work as the wood has to be harvested then treated and after that it has to be cut into shapes to get desired design. Now in an approach to change this process, a team of scientists at Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed creative method. The new technology uses wood-based ink that 3D prints into flat shapes that later take form of even more complex 3D structures when they are dried.

The focus of this technology is how the water content influences the wood’s shape such as a tree deforms when it’s cut down and starts drying out, which occurs as the fibers in the material configures. This configuration varies in the orientation causing shrinking of the wood in a non-uniform way when the moisture is evaporated. The researchers leveraged this characteristics and created a way to manipulate this process of morphing in order to get required 3D shapes. The researchers used ‘wood flour’, which is microparticles of wood waste and then combined it with xyloglucan and cellulose nanocrystals to create a water-based ink. These components are found in plants as natural binders.

Furthermore, this water-based ink is extruded using a 3D printer into flat shape. The speed of printing and direction of lines dictates the fibers alignment, which eventually 3D shape that the dried wood is to take. The path and speed of printing can be programmed to produce flat discs morphing into objects with shape same of Pringles. According to the team, this method can create more complex shapes with more refinement on the technique. The team hopes to create complicated objects such as chairs and more in future with the new technique.

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