The University of Nottingham
Formulation for 3D printing: Creating a plug and play platform for a disruptive UK industry
3D printing lacks the materials required to fully become an established mass manufacturing process. Progress in materials development continues but a step change is required, and this will be realised through high throughput methods. High throughput discovery is an established methodology for automated identification of promising materials. At Nottingham it has been developed as tool for understanding biomaterials, and recently was instrumental in finding materials whose surface would resist bacterial attachment, potentially avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics. Here, drawing together a multi-disciplinary, cross-community team, we will adapt this philosophy to rapidly identify formulations that can be used for 3D printing in a range of sectors represented by our industry partners. This will enable the creation of a library of materials, material combinations and formulations that are proven for 3D printing (particularly ink jet, extrusion, hot melt extrusion). Whilst the formation of this methodology is an initially challenging and time consuming step, the establishment of this set of libraries will enable rapid adoption downstream whilst the methodology itself can be utilised by other sectors seeking materials. Our libraries will be readily extended to create a tool for UK industry for selection of 3D printing formulations.
Ricky Wildman is a Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of Nottingham. He has a rich and diverse background in understanding flow and its physico-chemical interactions with solid mechanics. Recently he has embarked on a programme to widen the portfolio of materials available for additive manufacturing. This has been stimulated by his research in additive manufacturing for healthcare, where the lack of useable materials is a real challenge to progress in this area. He is particularly enthusiastic about developing scientific methodologies in order to make sense, and ultimately control, the rich phenomena inherent in creating functionality in dimensions.
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