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New “Rotational” 3-D Printing Gives Objects Impressive Strength

January 17, 2018

Harvard researchers have demonstrated a new technique they call “rotational 3-D printing” that provides precision control over the materials it prints.

Learning from nature: Natural products like bone and wood have complex microstructures that give them their strength and resistance to damage. But replicating these properties in man-made materials has been a challenge, mainly because of the inability to re-create these structures.

How it works: By precisely changing the position, rotation, and speed of a 3-D printer’s nozzle, the team can build micro-fibers into objects.

Why it matters: Controlling how the fibers are positioned can improve the strength of the final product. Additionally, varying fiber structure within an object can give it greater durability in one area and flexibility in another, for example. Researchers say this nozzle concept can be used with any material that can be laid down using an extrusion printing method.

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