Special "ink" for a 3D printer will allow you to print objects made of wood

Several years ago, scientists at Chalmers University (Gothenburg, Sweden) managed to create a wood fiber "ink" for a 3D printer. They are currently developing a new mixture similar in structure and quality to natural wood.

The starting material for the mixture is a nanocellulose-based gel containing tiny fibers extracted from wood. In principle, this gel can be used to print a wide variety of objects, but they will lack the porosity, strength and a number of other qualities inherent in natural wood.

The problem was solved by adding a new ingredient - hemicellulose, a natural component of plant cells. Acting as a glue, hemicellulose bonds and strengthens the cellulose fibers.

In addition, the scientists digitized the genetic code of a natural tree, and then "introduced" it to a 3D printer. As a result, they were able to precisely control the placement of nanofibers in the process of printing simple objects with a structure similar to natural wood.

In the future, this technology can be used to create a huge number of items from packaging to furniture. This completely eliminates the need for woodworking machines, since the printer will print ready-made parts. In addition, the mixture will use cellulose derived from wood waste, and "3D wood" can eventually replace less environmentally friendly materials based on hydrocarbons.