February 19, 2017

3D-printed optically transparent glass

From the discovery of glass bead-making processes in ancient Egypt to the development of modern industrial flat glass production, glass has experienced fundamental changes in its manufacture over the centuries. G3DP represents yet another chapter in glass making.

G3DP is a digital fabrication method to print glass with optical transparency. The process allows for a high degree of control over geometrical and optical variations, which in turn influence the form, transparency, color, reflection, and refraction of printed glass. The additive manufacturing method employs an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle and two heated chambers. The upper chamber functions as a kiln while the lower one anneals the glass objects. The upper chamber has an operating temperature of 1,900°F (1,038°C) and is of sufficient size to produce a complete object that is printed in a single pass.

Unveiled at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in 2016, G3DP represents the synthesis of modern technologies with ancient glass techniques and generates novel glass structures with numerous potential applications.

Contact: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mediated Matter Group, Cambridge, MA, USA.

For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

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