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Monday, September 21, 2015

3D Printing Method to Construct Optically Transparent Objects

Researchers Print Glass Structures in 3D

Tech Briefs | September 14, 2015

A new system from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) creates strong, solid glass structures from computerized designs. The 3D-printing method allows researchers to construct optically transparent objects.

Breakthrough Glass 3D Printing Platform Unveiled by Neri Oxman & MIT
Traditionally, glass is a difficult material to work with, given how its viscosity changes with temperature. Glass requires precise control of temperature at all stages of the process. 

<more at; related links: (Printing transparent glass in 3-D. New system is the first to create strong, solid glass structures from computerized designs. September 14, 2015) and (Additive Manufacturing of Optically Transparent Glass. John Klein, Michael Stern, Giorgia Franchin, Markus Kayser, Chikara Inamura, Shreya Dave, James C. Weaver, Peter Houk, Paolo Colombo, Maria Yang, and Neri Oxman. 3D Printing and Additive Manufacture, Volume 2, Number 3, 2015. DOI: 10.1089/3dp.2015.0021 [Abstract: We present a fully functional material extrusion printer for optically transparent glass. The printer is composed of scalable modular elements able to operate at the high temperatures required to process glass from a molten state to an annealed product. We demonstrate a process enabling the construction of 3D parts as described by computer-aided design models. Processing parameters such as temperature, which control glass viscosity, and flow rate, layer height, and feed rate can thus be adjusted to tailor printing to the desired component, its shape, and its properties. We explored, defined, and hard-coded geometric constraints and coiling patterns as well as the integration of various colors into the current controllable process, contributing to a new design and manufacturing space. We report on performed characterization of the printed materials executed to determine their morphological, mechanical, and optical properties. Printed parts demonstrated strong adhesion between layers and satisfying optical clarity. This molten glass 3D printer demonstrates the production of parts that are highly repeatable, enable light transmission, and resemble the visual and mechanical performance of glass constructs that are conventionally obtained. Utilizing the optical nature of glass, complex caustic patterns were created by projecting light through the printed objects. The 3D-printed glass objects described here can thus be extended to implementations across scales and functional domains including product and architectural design. This research lies at the intersection of design, engineering, science, and art, representing a highly nterdisciplinary approach]>

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