Breakthrough Innovation to Abate Pollution |

Breakthrough Innovation to Abate Pollution

3D printed structure to help control pollution


In what could be described as a breakthrough innovation for the first time, researchers have used commercial 3D printers to create a chemically active structure, the size of handheld sponge, that acts to curb pollution.

The team of researchers led by Matthew Hartings, who is a professor at the American University successfully designed the structure the size of a handheld sponge.

They disseminated throughout plastic chemically active titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles. Using the same filament that hobbyists use in the printing process of 3D-printed figures, researchers added the nanoparticles.

Using a 3D thermoplastic printer, ubiquitous in manufacturing, the researchers printed a small, sponge-like plastic matrix.

Researchers found that when natural light reacts with TiO2, it breaks down the pollutants and this could help in the abatement of pollution of air, water and agricultural resources. "It’s not just pollution, but there are all sorts of other chemical processes that people may be interested in. There are a variety of nanoparticles one could add to a polymer to print," Hartings said.

One limitation of the research is that for the structure to print, the concentration of nanoparticles needs to be less than 10 per cent of total mass of the structure.

The study was published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. The researchers are keen on exploring the possibilities of using applications that involve photocatalytic removal of pollutants. Since the experiment has yielded positive results, the research opens new avenues to help abate pollution.

TAGS: 3D Printing, Nanoparticles, Research