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Multi-scale 3D Printing of Hierarchical Structures

A novel 3D printing technology that can be applied to fabricate bio-mimic functional multi-scale hierarchical functional structures ranging from macro-scale to Nano-scale.

Nature provides us a large number of functional material systems consisting of hierarchical structures, where significant variation in dimensions are present. Such hierarchical structures are difficult to build by traditional manufacturing process due to the limitation of manufacturing range set by machine tools. Nowadays, three-dimensional objects with complex structures can be built by gradually accumulating material in a layer-by-layer manner using additive manufacturing (AM), but still, the hierarchical structure measured from macro-scale to nano-scale raises challenge to one single AM process, whose manufacturing capability is also intrinsically specified within a certain scope. It is desired to develop one multi-scale 3D printing process to narrow this gap between scales of feature in hierarchical structures.

The aim of this research is to investigate a hybrid process to fabricate hierarchical objects that has macro-, micro- and nano-scale features. The capability of our proposed multi-scale printing process enables potential applications in various field, such as optics, biology and biomedical engineering, as well as interface technology.


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