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Research in Dr. Mackay’s Group

We also use FFF for other uses than pure research. We use printing of lithophanes as a way to test our skills. A lithophane uses thickness to generate light and dark regions of a photograph. The figure on the left is the as-printed lithophane that shows its picture when back-lit by placing it on a window pane as shown on the right. The interplay of processing conditions and polymer properties dictates the lithophane’s contrast and sharpness.

(Lithophanes courtesy of Keith Coasey, Mackay Lab)

A movie of the polymer being extruded from the hot end of a 3D printer. It is slowed down after a couple of seconds to see the gross melt fracture, which is undesirable and limits the processing speed of FFF. We are devising blends and processing conditions to minimize gross melt fracture.

(Video courtesy of Zach Swain, Mackay Lab)

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