3DPrinting.com explores how supercooled liquid 3D printing exhibits potential for significant deposition rates.

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Supercooling: Boosting the Speed of 3D Printing

A groundbreaking study from Graz University of Technology has introduced a revolutionary technique for 3D printing using supercooled liquids. The research center has focused its efforts on sodium acetate trihydrate, a readily available salt hydrate known for its low toxicity. By subjecting this material to supercooling, the process of lowering its temperature below freezing without solidifying it, the researchers have achieved remarkable results in terms of printing speed.

Salt hydrates, like sodium acetate trihydrate, display unique properties when supercooled. They have the ability to rapidly crystallize, making them ideal for additive manufacturing. This discovery opens up new possibilities for significantly faster printing speeds and enhanced efficiency in 3D printing processes. The testing involved a specially designed robot-mounted printhead that allows for precise printing of the supercooled sodium acetate trihydrate.

During the experiments, the researchers paid close attention to material properties such as density, surface tension, and viscosity. These factors played a crucial role in determining the outcome of the tests. In fact, the results strongly correlated with the theoretical predictions, validating the feasibility of this innovative technique.

One of the most promising aspects of 3D printing with supercooled liquids is its potential for increased printing speed. The research paper highlighted that this method could achieve nozzle exit velocities of up to 6.4 m/s, translating to impressive printing speeds of 53 kg/h. This advantage positions supercooled liquid deposition as a compelling alternative to traditional 3D printing processes, particularly for applications requiring rapid production.

In addition to speed, this technique also offers precise control over the geometry of the printed objects. This level of precision is a significant advantage, making supercooled liquid deposition suitable for various applications such as art, restoration, and mold production. Furthermore, the water-soluble nature of salt hydrates adds to the appeal of this technique.

Markus Brillinger, the lead researcher in the study, concluded the paper by acknowledging that ongoing research is underway to further refine and industrialize the process. The focus is on addressing challenges related to process control and preventing back-crystallization. Brillinger is also exploring the potential of other salt hydrates, including aluminum potassium sulfate dodecahydrate and magnesium chloride hexahydrate.

To learn more about this groundbreaking research, the pre-proof paper titled “3D printing of supercooled liquids: Modeling and verification on sodium acetate trihydrate” can be accessed in the Additive Manufacturing journal.

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