3D Printing in Liquid Means Electronics Might Ooze

From gizmodo.com

A Breakthrough in 3D Printing Liquids Could Lead to Squishy, Flexible Gadgets

The most common types of 3D printing involve either extruding melted plastic or using a laser to solidify tiny particles, layer by layer, to slowly build up a solid object. But researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found a way to radically change that process by 3D printing liquids inside other liquids—and it could mean major advancements in gadget construction.

The printer itself is an off-the-shelf model that the researchers were able to modify by replacing the extruder with a syringe pump feeding a very fine needle that squirts water instead of molten plastic. The machine was then re-programmed to create three-dimensional patterns, as many 3D printers typically only make two-dimensional movements as they build up each layer of a model.

The next innovation, however, was considerably more complicated to perfect. Water has the propensity to break up into droplets as it’s extruded, but the goal of this research was to create continuous liquid structures that hold their shape over time. The researchers chose water as the liquid being extruded, and silicon oil as the base medium, but with slight modifications to both.

A Breakthrough in 3D Printing Liquids Could Lead to Squishy, Flexible Gadgets
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