Faculty invited to collaborate in reimagined 3D printing lab

Two men look at 3D printed object in lab.

Seth Mueller, a civil engineering major, and Assistant Professor Oliver Giraldo-Londoño examine a 3D printed object in the 3D Printing Research and Experiences Lab.

As 3D printing becomes more commonplace in industry, there’s growing interest among governmental agencies to fund research that utilizes this technology. That’s one reason Mizzou Engineering is expanding opportunities for researchers to find new ways to apply the technology.

Faculty are invited to work in the 3D Printing Research & Experiences Lab to collaborate on projects around industrial applications and manufacturing, biomedical innovations and smart materials.

“After 30 years of development, 3D printing has caught the attention of businesses and industries, and its applications are growing exponentially,” said Steven Devlin, Associate Dean of Economic Development and Industrial Engagement and Director for Teaching and Service in the lab. “The materials and technology are improving on a yearly basis. We want to make sure our faculty are incorporating this important tool in their research.”

Currently, 3D printing is used in a variety of applications from printing lightweight parts for more energy-efficient automobiles to origami-inspired structures that start out as compact and expand when needed. Industries are starting to 3D print concrete for rigid, low-cost construction projects. GE has 3D printed parts for jet engines, gas turbines and, most recently, wind turbine blades.

Oliver Giraldo-Londoño, assistant professor and O’Neill Faculty Scholar in Civil & Environmental Engineering, is heading the research side of the lab. He earned his PhD from Georgia Tech, where he used 3D printing to fabricate complex structures and materials obtained with numerical optimization techniques.

Giraldo-Londoño is now recruiting faculty whose research could benefit from 3D printing technology. Specifically, he is interested in collaborating with faculty from biological and medical disciplines to study applications such as 3D-printed self-healing materials.

“This material can heal itself like skin,” he said. “It can be used in robotics, especially soft robots that are prone to damage. And it can have a tremendous impact on the biomedical sector.”

Giraldo-Londoño is also exploring future projects around four-dimensional printing of materials that can change shape over time with varying temperatures or electromagnetic forces, as well as bringing concrete printing capabilities to Mizzou.

“This is an opportunity to compete for grants and contracts using a new technology, with potential in a number of engineering and scientific disciplines,” Devlin said. “The federal government and state governments are interested in how this technology can improve our performance.”

Learn more about collaborating with the 3D Printing & Experiences Lab at Mizzou Engineering

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