Home Research & Education Researchers develop 3D printing technology for ultra-thin multilayer tubular structures

Researchers develop 3D printing technology for ultra-thin multilayer tubular structures

Scientists at Beihang University have developed a new type of 3D printing technology that can be used to produce multi-layered tubular structures from various materials with a minimum wall thickness of just 50 micrometers and a detail resolution of up to 10 micrometers. The results were published in the International Journal of Extreme Manufacturing.

The technology, known as polar-coordinate line-projection light-curing production (PLLP), could be used in the future for the rapid customization of tubular implants and the production of tubular components in fields such as dentistry, aerospace and more.

“Smooth, ultra-thin tubular structures are widely used in biomedical engineering,” explains Professor Jiebo Li, corresponding author of the study. “However, they are extremely difficult to produce using conventional 3D printing systems based on Cartesian coordinates. Therefore, we designed our platform to be cylindrical and constructed in polar coordinates.”

The PLLP technology uses a rotating, cylindrical base as a substrate. A special lighting system exposes the individual layers, which then harden on the rotating cylinder. In this way, particularly smooth, multi-layered tubes with complex material combinations can be realized.

The researchers were able to demonstrate the superiority of their method over conventional 3D printing processes in simulations and experimental tests. They were also able to process hydrogels without any problems. In the next steps, the scientists now want to further improve the speed and resolution of the PLLP technology.

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