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Processing of 3D printed wood at MIT lab

 Friday, May 26, 2023

The researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology plans to make use of advance engineering to discover the potentials of lab produced wood as one of the most useful building materials, while natural wood is already one of the best building materials that is renewable and easy to handle. The researchers are reaching heights of innovation with the use of 3D printing machines that might also help to develop wooden product like table without harming the natural abundance.  

According to MIT News, “In an effort to provide an environmentally friendly and low-waste alternative, researchers at MIT have pioneered a tunable technique to generate wood-like plant material in a Lab.”, that can also be customized. They are still in a particular stage of development where they are adjusting certain chemicals to have a precise control on the physical properties that include the stiffness and density of the lab produced plant materials.

Lead author Ashley Beckwith specially points out the fact that the idea of producing wood products in lab concentrates on the fact of producing plant materials of one’s own choice, reducing subtractive manufacturing. This is also a step taken to reduce wastage of energy with less production of waste. She even thinks that their lies huge potential to expand the production leading to the growth of three -dimensional structures. 

The MIT report does not give an estimate when this work would have widespread commercial applications but said “This research demonstrates that lab-grown plant materials can be tuned to have specific characteristics…like high strength to support the walls of a house or certain thermal properties to more efficiently heat a room.” Thus, the 3D bioprinting technique is being developed to grow plant materials of various shapes, sizes and forms for promising commercial uses. The most interesting fact is that the technique can also produce plant forms that are not found in the nature, or cannot be produced according to the traditional agricultural methods.

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