Girls in STEM

Update: Spotlight School Success

Update: Spotlight School Success

SUCCESS! Since electing Liberty Elementary School as our Spotlight School, we have come to adore the Liberty family more and more each day.  T

News and Insight

Search articles, videos and updates on 3D Printing and its growing presence in our world

Girls in STEM

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

This week, we bring you a short video on a STEM'tastic educator! Scroll down to WATCH this educator doing what she does best - teachi

Videos

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Watching super cool EDUCATIONAL videos from across the web is one of our favorite pastimes! Join us in learning more about 3D printing in the clas

Science and Math

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the season for GINGERBREAD and working the delicious treat into your family - and CLASSROOM - fun. Last week, as students across the

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NASA exploring 3D Printing of Biomaterials in Aerospace

By Staff Writter

NASA exploring 3D Printing of Biomaterials in Aerospace

Engineering

Aerospace 3d printing is very promising for use in on-site creation of objects in space. NASA's plans include the 3D printing of tools, spare parts, and structural components. However, NASA is also interested in creating biomaterials in space.The space agency is funding Diana Gentry and Lynn Rothschild from Stanford University, to research the 3D printing of biomaterials such as wood. The idea is to use 3D printing to by-pass the steps of growing a tree, cutting it down, and processing it into a wood product. This would mean that astronauts can take the building blocks of different biomaterials into space rather than the entire organism in order to produce items like wood panels and silk. These products are the non-living items made by the biomaterials.

Lynn Rothschild and Diana Gentry believe that they can 3D print cellular arrays that will secrete organic materials such as silk, rubber, and cellulose. Cells will be placed in a gelling solution and then printed through a piezoelectric print head into a three dimensional pattern. They are not attempting to place organics into a pattern to induce cellular growth, but rather, are trying to trigger cells into becoming a material of their choice. If they can establish proof of concept, they hope to produce unique, exotic materials such as carbon reinforced wood or wood infused with copper nano-wires.

One very important biomaterial for astronauts is food. For long duration space missions such as a round trip to Mars, food storage is critical. Refrigeration is too resource intensive, and processed packaged food that can remain viable for 5 years, will contain degraded nutrients. In addition, lack of menu variety suppresses the appetite which leads to health issues. Consequently, NASA is looking at 3D printing of food as a possible solution because long term storage of the nutrients used in a printer is simpler than storage of actual food. A printer also solves the problem of menu variety. Anjan Contractor from Texas-based Systems & Materials Research Corporation has demonstrated the concept by 3D printing pizza. He is funded by a $125,000 grant from NASA.

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