Sooner or later, the scene of blowing up and making glass crafts may disappear.
A British journal, Nature, announced on the 20th that German scientists have succeeded in making small, complex structures of glass products using 3D printers. Plastics and ceramics made with 3D printers have been on the market for the past several years, but this is the first time to produce precision crafts with liquid glass.
Liquid glass is made by melting glass powder in a polymer liquid.
According to Nature, Professor Bastian Rapp of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany developed 3D printing technology using liquid glass. It also succeeded in reproducing the complex models such as honeybee-shaped bread, Pretzels, honeycomb, and castles on glass. Professor Bastian said, “Glass is one of the oldest materials known to mankind, but was ignored in the 3D printing revolution.”
Glass melts at higher temperatures than metals used as a material in 3D printers. For this reason, 3D printing has been difficult. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have tried to make glass prints using special 3D printers that heat up to 1900 degrees Celsius, but the results were weak and not transparent enough to be widely used.
Professor Rapp’s team focused on liquid glass. If a 3D printer is made to print the desired craft using liquid glass and then processed into an oven with a temperature of more than 1300 degrees, the glass particles will merge back to create a transparent product.
Glass has a unique advantage of being strong, long lasting and able to block heat and electricity.
Professor Rapp explains that the technology can be applied to smartphone cameras, small parts, glass ornaments, and even complex glass panels. If you mix metal particles in liquid glass, you can print and produce colored glass and apply it to various artworks.
“With modern 3D printing equipment, we are able to process one of the most amazing optical, mechanical and physical properties of materials,” Professor Rapp said. He assessed the meaning of the study by saying “Our goal is to reduce the material limitations of 3D printing.”