The field of 3D printing is still largely the domain of major companies in need of easier prototyping methods and hobbyists. But a new breakthrough could vastly expand the technology’s applications: 3D printed glass.
MIT’s process accomplishes this by using two chambers, one that acts as a kiln cartridge (working at 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit), and another that works to melt the structures together. The molten glass is distributed through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle (shown in the video, above) that pours the material out like soft serve ice cream.
The G3DP process was developed by a team including the MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter group, the MIT Glass Lab, the Wyss Institute and MIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department.
One of the project’s leader researchers, Neri Oxman, says the breakthrough could also lead to advances in creating fiber optic cables that transmit data more efficiently.
“Now [we can] consider printable optoelectronics,” Oxman told Arch Daily, “or the possibility of combining optical fibers for high-speed data transmission by light, combined within glass printed building facades.”
This 3D glass printing technique could also hold “significant implications for all things glass: aerodynamic building facades optimized for solar gain,” Oxman said.
The Latest on: 3D glass printing
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The Latest on: 3D glass printing
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