For mitigating the problem of pollution, the researchers have managed to print a chemically active structure by using a 3D commercial printer. The active structure has a size of a handheld sponge and researchers also showed how to create the structure with active chemistry through commercial 3D printers.
The structure is designed by dispersing chemically active titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles through the same filament utilized in the printing process of 3D-printed figure. TiO2 is also known as a naturally formed oxide of titanium used for a wide range of applications including the sunscreen and cosmetics. The notable fact about the chemical formula is its inherent ability to break down the particles containing the pollutants on exposure to the natural light, stating that it can be accessed for the purpose of controlling and mitigating pollution in air and water.
To test the ability, chemistry professor Matthew Hartlings and his team of researchers from the American University in Washington D.C. placed the 3D printed structure in a tank of water and added a pollutant particle into the water. With the test, the researchers were able to ascertain that the matrix structure destroyed the particle containing pollutant and showed that the nanoparticles of TiO2 remain active in the water.
Hartlings said that it’s not just pollution, but there are all sorts of other chemical processes that people may be interested in. There are a variety of nanoparticles one could add to a polymer to print. In order to harness and exercise the full extent of 3D printing, the researchers will be printing some exotic shapes to understand the printed structure affecting the chemical reactivity.
Researchers are hoping to get an optimal geometric structure so that it can be used in the breaking down the harmful environmental pollutants.
The study appeared in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.