Although 3D printers have been able to manufacture objects of all shapes, the size of the finished product is still limited. The good news is that a team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has come up with a way to break that limit. The team, led by David Wirth and Jonathan Pokorski, is known to have used a resin material that can expand during heating.
Video screenshot (from: UCSD / ACS)
It uses a process called stereolithography, which involves exposing a continuous layer of photosensitive resin to a light drawing case, hardening it into a solid state.
After moving the item into the oven, a volatile component allows it to form a polystyrene foam. While the shape remains constant, let it soar to 40 times its original volume.
High foam for lithography 3D printing
The material is now used in the manufacture of mesh balls, wind turbine components, toy boats and other items, which can be extended up to 20 times their original size.
Although not as strong as polystyrene, scientists believe the study could help create uses such as buoyancy aids, wings, cushioning materials, and the construction of expandable astronaut habitats.
Expandable Foam Supersizes 3D-Printed Objects (via)
Details of the study have been published recently in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces of the American Chemical Society.
Originally titled “Highly Expandable Foam for Lithographic 3D Printing.”