Mechanic Biomaterials Deposition
Fabrication of Functionally-Graded Hydrogel Composites
MIT Media Lab
Natural and biocompatible composite materials combined with large-scale digital fabrication can enable environmentally friendly bio-inspired construction. This work includes a robotically controlled additive-manufacturing system that deposits natural hydrogels, such as chitosan, starch or alginate, and other organic aggregates such as cellulose, chitin or calcium. We demonstrate the approach by designing, building, and evaluating the mechanics and controls of a three-chamber motor-driven extrusion system. Composite objects fabricated using our technology display graded properties and feature sizes ranging from micro-to-macroscale. The constructs may be chemically stabilized or dissolved in water and recycled within minutes. Applications include the fabrication of fully recyclable products or temporary architectural components such as tent structures with graded mechanical and optical properties. Proposed applications demonstrate environmental capabilities such as water-storing structures, hydration-induced shape forming, and product disintegration over time.
In collaboration with Dr. Javier G. Fernandez and Dr. James Weaver (Harvard Wyss Institute). This research was primarily sponsored by the Mediated Matter research group at the MIT Media Lab and in part by the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering through a project in the course Additive Manufacturing (2.S998) in Spring 2014. Ideas, methods, products, and techniques were developed to support an ongoing research platform focusing on biodegradable AM commissioned by the TBA-21 Academy (Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary). Key contributing UROP: Daniel Lizardo.
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