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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Reduce waste. In the future, wood can be directly 3D printed into furniture

Reduce waste. In the future, wood can be directly 3D printed into furniture

Author:QINSUN Released in:2023-12 Click:60

Cutting down trees and processing wood is not the most effective or environmentally friendly way to manufacture furniture or building materials. MIT has recently made breakthrough progress in this field, allowing for direct 3D printing and planting of wood into the shape of furniture and other objects in the future.

Although wood is a renewable energy source, its consumption rate is significantly faster than its growth rate. Deforestation has had a huge impact on wildlife and exacerbated the impact of climate change. As our demand for wooden products cannot change, our method of obtaining wooden products must also change.

Now, a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has demonstrated a new technology that allows for the cultivation of wood like plant materials in the laboratory, allowing for easy adjustment of weight and strength characteristics as needed.

The main author of the study, Ashley Beckwith, said, "Our idea is that you can accurately plant these plant materials according to the shape you need, so you don't need to do any subtraction manufacturing afterwards, which reduces the amount of energy and waste. There is great potential to expand this and grow three-dimensional structures.".

Firstly, the research team isolated cells from plant leaves known as Zinnia elegans. The cells were then cultured in liquid medium for two days and then transferred to a thicker gel based medium. This substance contains nutrients and two different plant hormones, and their levels can be adjusted to adjust the physical and mechanical properties of the material.

Next, the research team will 3D print this gel containing cells into a specific shape, just like you 3D print a plastic object. After incubating in the dark for three months, the material is dehydrated, and the final result is a customized object made of woody plant material. For example, in a test, the team shaped the material into a model of a tree.

The research team conducted experiments on different levels of hormones and found that lower levels of hormones resulted in lower density materials with round, open cells. Meanwhile, due to the growth of organic polymer lignin, higher levels will result in smaller, denser structures and harder structures. This difference can be used to manufacture softer and lighter products, or stronger and harder products.

Ultimately, our goal is to develop this technology to enable 3D printing and growth of wooden objects, rather than cutting, shaping, and connecting larger wooden blocks obtained from logging. This process may start with small wooden items, such as nails or decorations, and eventually develop into furniture or building boards.