A new method for 3D printing of the hottest liquid

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A new method of liquid metal suspension 3D printing recently, the laboratory of cryogenic biology and medicine of the Institute of physical and chemical technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences first proposed the concept and method of "liquid metal suspension 3D printing", which can quickly manufacture three-dimensional flexible metal deformable bodies with arbitrary complex shapes and structures at room temperature, and can be used to assemble three-dimensional stretchable electronic devices. Relevant research results were published on advanced materials technologies as a cover article

in the paper entitled suspension can realize stable loading and fluctuating loading with sinusoidal and 3-angle waveforms, 3D printing of liquid metal into self-healing hydrogel, the research group introduced hydrogels with self-healing properties between solid and liquid as transparent support media, created and confirmed the liquid metal suspension 3D printing forming method (Fig. 1), which overcome the high surface tension of liquid metal ink Low viscosity, easy flow, high gravity and other technical challenges. In the whole manufacturing process, the hydrogel can be freely converted between yield liquefaction and rapid solidification, and its viscosity to metal droplets is very high. With the relative movement between the print nozzle and the gel, the metal droplets extruded by the nozzle will immediately necking behavior and separate from the nozzle, and then be wrapped, viscous and fixed by the supporting gel. Through the stacking of metal microspheres layer by layer along the planned path, the expected three-dimensional structure can be finally formed (Fig. 2); Printing accuracy can be regulated by needle size, printing speed, gel environment, etc. Both gel and liquid metal are flexible substances, so the stereo electronic devices formed by them can be stretched and deformed. This research breaks through the traditional rigid structure forming mode and 3D printing category, and has important value in amorphous flexible electronic devices, rapid manufacturing of intelligent systems, and even deformable 4D printing

in the research entitled 3D printing for functional electronics by injection and package of liquid metals into channels of mechanical structures published by the research team on materials design, researchers established a hybrid processing method for manufacturing three-dimensional flexible electronic structures: first, a flexible matrix containing hollow microchannels was prepared by 3D printing process, and then liquid metal was filled into the channel, Thus, a flexible electronic device is constructed (Fig. 3). The simulation analysis of the series of tests reveals the influence law of the key process parameters on the forming quality of the devices. This work realizes the direct printing and packaging of functional electronic devices, which is conducive to the popularization and application of flexible electronics

in the paper entitled direct 3D printing of low melting point alloy via adhesion mechanism previously published in the rapid prototyping journal, the group showed the method of directly manufacturing low melting point metal components at room temperature using desktop level 3D printers by introducing the metal droplet adhesion forming mechanism (Fig. 4). By comparing with the mechanical and electrical properties of cast parts, it is revealed that the output of low melting point metal 3D printing is about 25% higher than that of traditional screw extruder, and the advantages of parts in mechanical and conductive behavior are revealed. In the future, this technology can be extended to the metal and non-metal composite printing process based on multiple nozzles to realize the integrated forming and packaging of three-dimensional circuits

the platform construction and testing of the above related work have received the technical support and assistance of Beijing dream Ink Technology Co., Ltd. Recently, based on the previous accumulation, the two sides have jointly developed the world's first commercial liquid metal hybrid 3D printing device (Figure 5), realizing the integrated hybrid three-dimensional molding of metal/non-metal materials, making the additive manufacturing technology a big step from structural manufacturing to functional manufacturing. The corresponding equipment has a wide range of application value in the fields of 3D electronic devices, intelligent machines, radio frequency communication, scientific research and teaching

the establishment of the above series of novel 3D printing methods and the development of original hardware equipment once again highlight the unique advantages and universal value of advanced liquid metal materials in the rapid manufacturing of flexible functional electronic devices, which is an important innovation and expansion of the concept of additive manufacturing technology. The research work was supported by the frontier science and Education Bureau of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Beijing Municipal Commission of science and technology

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