Imperial college London’s materials scientists have developed stronger crystal materials after combining metal science with 3D printing. These findings integrate people’s understanding of metals and accelerates the range of 3D-printed materials application in various fields. Moreover, this new invention comes as a potential solution in making of vehicles to medical devices.
Generally, 3D printing technology helps in producing engineering components. The printed components include lattice structures, where the material patterns deliberated in a grid-like fashion with repeating and connecting nodes. Such structures are responsible for making lightweight components.
However, this conventional forms of lattices show limited applications due to the single pattern of lattice all over the materials. They are easily crackable and often fails disastrously. Therefore, scientists are trying to change the internal lattice structure patterns to add strength.
Mimicking Crystals’ hardening Mechanisms Add Strength to 3D-printed Lattice Materials
Imperial College’s scientists with Sheffield’s contemporaries follow the patterns of natural crystals to add new features to 3D-printed metals. Scientists’ novel material, ‘meta-crystal’ is not only stronger but also more tolerant to damages than conventional lattice materials. They have also noted that through decreasing the size of individual lattice regions, they can improve the strength of meta-crystals.
Furthermore, this new invention paves the way for tougher yet lightweight 3D-printed materials which are well suited for various applications. Presently available 3D-printed lattices follow a single repeating pattern which resembles the structure of metallic single crystal. All the nodes in the lattice are alike to the atoms in the single crystal. In addition, such patterns helps in strengthening the materials and slows down cracks formation.