Additive Manufacturing grows more sophisticated every day. The technology produces items that change shape and even move, in experiments that still seem like something out of science fiction.
The University of Nottingham researchers have developed a 3D printed material that changes color exposed to light.
Color-changing materials are most popular among children. The research by the scientists has the potential to do a lot more than just entertain kids, however – it could greatly increase the functional capabilities of 3D printed devices for industries like electronics, healthcare, and quantum computing.
Dr. Victor Sans Sangorrin, the leader of the research (from Nottingham’s Faculty of Engineering), and Dr. Graham Newton from the School of Chemistry published a paper entitled,
“3D-Printable Photochromic Molecular Materials for Reversible Information Storage”
Acess the document Here
This bottom-up approach to device fabrication will push the boundaries of additive manufacturing like never before,” said Dr. Sangorrin. “Using a unique integrated design approach, we have demonstrated functional synergy between photochromic molecules and polymers in a fully 3D-printed device. Our approach expands the toolbox of advanced materials available to engineers developing devices for real-world problems.”
The color change can then be reversed by exposure to oxygen. They then 3D printed composite materials by combining the photoactive molecules with a custom-made polymer, creating a material that can store material reversibly – in a way, it’s like 3D printed invisible ink.
“We can now take any molecules that change properties upon exposure to light and print them into composites with almost any shape or size,” said Dr. Newton. “In theory, it would be possible to reversibly encode something quite complex like a QR code or a barcode and then wipe the material clean, almost like cleaning a whiteboard with an eraser. While our devices currently operate using color changes, this approach could be used to develop materials for energy storage and electronics.”
Not being the first advanced 3D printing application developed by the University of Nottingham, and the school is equipped with an impressive Additive Manufacturing laboratory set up for research into pharmaceuticals and more. This latest research could have implications for not only electronics but medicine as well. The research was supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the University of Nottingham.
- Sources & More information
Related article categories:
Article and featured image:
Clare Scott, 3D Print.com 3D Printing, Science & Technology Jun 21, 2018, 3D Printed color-changing material holds potential for information storage https://3dprint.com/217289/3d-printed-color-changing/ visited on Jun 21, 2018;
University of Nottingham logo, Times Higher Education https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/university-nottingham visited on Jun 21, 2018;
Image: University of Nottingham