The green option for 3-D printing

  • Cellulose may soon become a renewable and biodegradable alternative to the polymers that are currently used in 3-D printing materials, a new study has found.

More Details on Cellulose:

  • “Cellulose is the most important component in giving wood its mechanical properties.
  • And because it is inexpensive, bio-renewable, biodegradable and also chemically versatile, it is used in a lot of products.
  • “Cellulose and its derivatives are used in pharmaceuticals, medical devices as food additives, building materials, clothing, all sorts of different areas.
  • And a lot of these kinds of products would benefit from the kind of customisation that additive manufacturing — 3D printing enables.
  • When heated, cellulose thermally decomposes before it becomes flowable.
  • The intermolecular bonding also makes high-concentration cellulose solutions too viscous to easily extrude, researchers said.

Cellulose Acetate

  • To avoid this problem, researchers chose to work with cellulose acetate — a material that is easily made from cellulose and is already widely produced and readily available.
  • Using cellulose acetate the number of hydrogen bonds in this material was reduced by the acetate groups.
  • Cellulose acetate can be dissolved in acetone and extruded through a nozzle.
  • As the acetone quickly evaporates, the cellulose acetate solidifies in place.
  • A subsequent optional treatment replaces the acetate groups and increases the strength of the printed parts.“After we 3D print, we restore the hydrogen bonding network through a sodium hydroxide treatment.

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