Here at ZMorph, we’re especially proud whenever scientists and engineers use 3D printing technology in STEM-related works. This is a story about a few university teachers that published academic work on precipitation of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles in 3D printed reactors.
We’ve reached Michał Wojasiński, Ph.D. at Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Chemical and Process Engineering, who is one of the people behind the extensive research. Along with members of a research group Joanna Latocha, M.Sc., Paweł Sobieszuk, Ph.D., and Tomasz Ciach, Ph.D., they’ve used a ZMorph 3D printer as a tool for creating 3D printed reactors for nanoparticles.
Latocha and Wojasiński, both supervised by professors Sobieszuk and Ciach, with colleagues from Warsaw University of Technology and Laboratory of Nanostructures, Institute of High Pressure Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, combined a wet precipitation method and 3D printing technology in the design of a process for the continuous production of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles. Their main goal was to create a simple technology for the precipitation of hydroxyapatite with properties mimicking natural bone.
To achieve the goal, they’ve prepared two Y-shaped continuous reactors of different lengths that were used to produce HAp-LE particles. If you want to learn more about this project, you can read the full academic paper at ScienceDirect.
3D Printed Reactors
What we will focus on in this article are the 3D printed reactors made with ZMorph 3D printers used in said work.
The reactors were designed in CAD software (such as Fusion 360 or Autodesk) and were used to carry out the precipitation of HAp (hydroxyapatite). For the purpose of this work, two different sizes of Y-shaped reactors were prepared. Both models had the inlet channel of length 50 mm. The length of the outlet channel differed and was either 10 mm (Y10) or 150 mm (Y150). This was made to conduct the tests in different environments.
The team used ABS polymer to 3D print the reactors as it is a durable material, stable under the conditions of HAp precipitation reaction.
Such prepared 3D printed reactors for nanoparticles could be then used for testing and experimenting.
Why 3D Printing?
3D printing is a very cheap method of fabrication allowing for a lot of customization and testing. The team was able to create a fully customizable 3D printed Y-shaped reactors to conduct experiments in-house which dramatically shortened the delivery time. If they wanted to outsource the reactors, they would first of all have to find a company that makes custom plastic components and pay them some amount of money for turning the 3D models into real things. And there’s no guarantee that the first iteration of the Y-shaped reactors would meet the demand. You can create endless prototypes and iterations on a 3D printer with low production costs.
ZMorph VX & STEM
At ZMorph we highly value STEM principles and are very happy that our machines are used for research and experiments. Thanks to its unique capabilities, ZMorph VX is a perfect tool for schools, universities, fablabs, and even libraries. Be sure to read more articles and use cases on our site to learn about different ZMorph applications.
This article was written in cooperation with Michał Wojasiński, Ph.D.