3-D Printer Uses Light To Make Superstiff Materials
by Michael Keller
Engineers report they have made ultralight, ultrastiff materials using a light-based 3-D printing method.
With a technique called projection microstereolithography, MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers shine a pattern of light onto a pool of liquid resin to form precise lattice structures. This light hardens the liquid where it touches, building layer after layer until the object is completed. So far, the team has used the method to form tiny lattices made of polymer, metal and ceramic.
By determining the exact geometry of the diagonal, horizontal and vertical beams that make up the tiny latticework, the team can design tiny lightweight structures made mostly of air that are incredibly stiff.