How Do You Like Your Materials – with Multi-functionality and Reconfigurability or Just Lightweight? Additive Manufacturing of 3D-Architected Materials
Imagine a world where body organs and tissues can be easily replaced after injury, where water can be collected directly from atmosphere even in arid environments, and where energy and power can be easily delivered to point-of-need. In our research, we design and fabricate materials that will eventually enable such a world. These materials are designed to have an extra level of organization, a three-dimensional architecture, that is bigger than the atomic scale but is often below 1 micrometer, which causes the emergence of superior and often tunable chemical, optical, biological, and mechanical properties at extremely low mass densities.
The fabrication and chemical synthesis of these so-called "3D-architected materials" represent the underlying foundation of additive manufacturing (AM), i.e. a process that builds versatile geometries in a layer-by-layer fashion. Dominant properties of AM'd materials are driven by their multi-scale nature: from characteristic microstructure (atoms) to individual constituents (nanometers) to structural components (microns) to overall architectures (millimeters+). The focus of this IDEAS lecture is on additive manufacturing of 3D nano and micro-architected metals, ceramics, metal oxides, shape memory polymers, hydrogels, and biomaterials via function-containing chemical synthesis. The properties of such chemically-derived materials are governed by the interplay of architecture, constituent materials, and microstructural detail. I will finish by demonstrating their potential in some real-use biomedical, photocatalytic, and energy storage applications and will describe how the choice of architecture, material, and external stimulus can elicit stimulus-responsive, reconfigurable, and multifunctional response.