A group of researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden has managed to print and dry 3D objects made entirely by cellulose. The team also added carbon nanotubes to create electrically conductive material.
“Combining the use of cellulose with the technological development of 3D printing offers great environmental advantages,” says Paul Gatenholm, professor of biopolymer technology at Chalmers. “Cellulose is an unlimited renewable commodity that is completely biodegradable and a means to bind carbon dioxide that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere.”
The difficulty in using cellulose in additive manufacturing is that it doesn’t melt when heated, meaning conventional 3D printers can’t be used. The researchers solved this problem by mixing cellulose nanofibrils in a hydrogel consisting of up to 99% water. The gel could then be dispensed with high fidelity using a 3D bioprinter. … (read more)