CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—MIT scientists are looking to modernize a 4,500 year-old technology.
The Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab, the Mechanical Engineering Department, the MIT Glass Lab and the Wyss Institute are researching a process to 3D-print glass known as G3DP.
“G3DP is an additive manufacturing platform designed to print optically transparent glass,” MMG said. “The tunability enabled by geometrical and optical variation driven by form, transparency and color variation can drive; limit or control light transmission, reflection and refraction, and therefore carries significant implications for all things glass.”
The process is based on a dual-heated chamber concept. The upper chamber acts as a Kiln Cartridge while the lower chamber serves to anneal, or remove internal stress, from the structures, according to the researchers.
“The Kiln Cartridge operates at approximately 1900 degrees Fahrenheit and can contain sufficient material to build a single architectural component. The molten material gets funneled through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle. The project synthesizes modern technologies, with age-old established glass tools and technologies producing novel glass structures with numerous potential applications,” MMG said.
The researchers have filed a patent on the technology and noted a full description of the technique will appear in the Sept. issue of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.
Watch the researchers’ 3D printer pour molten glass