Scientists are working on the technology of 3D printing of “wooden” furniture from natural biogel. This was reported by tech.24tv.ua with reference to the New Atlas
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a potential way to print natural wood furniture and other objects of any shape. In the long run, this will protect the environment from depletion.
Despite the fact that wood is a renewable resource, it is very quickly depleted and thousands of hectares of land suffer from deforestation every year. In other words, humanity is losing this resource so quickly that it simply does not have time to recover.
Just imagine – every year the total area of forests in the world decreases to the size of Iceland – it has a very negative impact on both wildlife and climate.
To solve this problem, a team of scientists from MIT demonstrated a technology that allows in the laboratory to create a very wood-like material from plant cells. At the same time, they learned to manage to some extent both its density and strength.
Little Iodine Printed from Biogel / EPFL Photo
The idea of scientists is to create products of a given shape without the need for further processing with the inevitable energy consumption and the appearance of industrial waste. According to study lead author Ashley Beckwith, there is a great resource for scaling technology and growing three-dimensional structures.
What a new miracle material
First, the scientists took the cells of the zinnia plant (Zinnia elegans), then placed them for two days in a liquid medium, and then turned into a special, thicker biogel with nutrients and two types of phytohormones – changing their content, you can control physical and mechanical properties of the future material.
After that, the team began to print with the help of biogel figures of various shapes – about the same 3D printing. After three months of incubation in the dark, the material was dehydrated, and the final result was an object of woody matter. In one of the tests, scientists even managed to create a model of a tree from the material.
The experiments were performed with different levels of phytohormones – their reduced level led to a lower density, and increased allowed to create more rigid structures. Such experiments in the future will create lighter and softer or harder objects.
The ultimate goal is to develop a technology that allows you to simply print things and wooden furniture without destroying the real forest. It may be possible to start the process with small objects such as decorative figures, after which you may be able to use it to create chairs or, for example, building frames and boards.
At the next stage, scientists plan to find a way to use other plants as the basis of cells. Zinnia is not a tree, but in the long run you can take something like pine cells as a basis – it can be a real scientific breakthrough.