Silica gel is still very young as a 3D printing material, but it has only emerged in the additive manufacturing industry in the past two or three years. However, in such a short period of time, silica gel has shown outstanding advantages and strong development potential, and the results have been amazing. Whether it is to expand the frontiers of science and technology or improve the details of life, silicone 3D printing will have a lot to do.
As a traditional material, silicone has been serving humans for more than 100 years, but as a 3D printing material, it is still very young, but it has only emerged in the additive manufacturing industry in the past two or three years. However, in such a short period of time, silica gel has shown outstanding advantages and strong development potential, and the results have been amazing. The world's first beating 3D printed heart made recently by Swiss scientists is made of silicone. People are not unaware that silicone has a bright future in the field of 3D printing, but it has been difficult to achieve breakthroughs in manufacturing technology for a long time. Unlike PLA/ABS wire, metal powder and other materials, silicone is difficult to form by heating and melting with traditional 3D printing equipment. This situation did not improve until 2014. The British company FrippDesigns first invented the Picsima silicone 3D printer that can produce silicone parts without any auxiliary materials. Immediately afterwards, the German chemical giant Wacker Chemical launched the 3D printing process of small drops of silicone fluid in 2015. Until today, new silicone 3D printing technology is still emerging. This young industry has not yet formed a unified technical specification and is full of vitality. After the silicone can be 3D printed, it first took a part of its own market from PLA/ABS wire, metal powder and other old materials. In the past, designers who were reluctant to use silicone because of the high cost, could use it to make molds arbitrarily and design prototypes of ordinary products. In addition, silicone has opened up a broad application space with its excellent characteristics such as flexibility and stability. Silicone and medicine are mutually successful. At present, biological 3D printing is one of the core technologies of the additive manufacturing industry, which profoundly affects the development trend of regenerative medicine. In addition to living tissues cultivated with human stem cells, silicone is the most ideal printing material. Its soft and elastic characteristics are similar to the real tissues and organs of the human body, and its stable performance is also conducive to participating in various experiments. Therefore, 3D printed silicone blood vessels, hearts, ears, breasts and other bionic organs are emerging in endlessly. They are either used to test the effectiveness of therapies and medicines, or they are continuously improved as future human implants. If the robot wants to reduce the difference with humans, it is not only necessary to enhance intelligence through deep learning, but also to work hard on the appearance. The copper-headed iron arm that lacks flexibility is obviously not suitable for some robots, and silicone is to make it move freely. key. In April this year, the German Industrial Automation Company launched a robot arm shaped like an octopus tentacle. Its surface is composed of soft silicone material combined with 3D textiles. It can flexibly operate and grab objects in a gentle surrounding method to enhance its own activities. The ability also protects the surrounding humans from accidental injury by machines. In addition, researchers at North Carolina State University in the United States are also trying to make the skin of soft robots by 3D printing porous silica gel structures. In addition to high-tech fields such as regenerative medicine and software robots, silicone 3D printing can also play a role in daily life. Silicone as a traditional material has been widely used in daily necessities. After combining 3D printing, it has become more popular in the market.
Whether it is to expand the frontiers of science and technology or improve the details of life, silicone 3D printing will have a lot to do.