Researchers based at Glasgow University, UK, have reportedly achieved a breakthrough in three-dimensional printing, making it possible to print items that can initiate chemical reactions — called “reactionware” — using specialized design software and 3D printers ready available on the consumer market.
The reactionware contains polymer gel that houses chemical reactions for “organic and inorganic synthesis”, and within the research this has resulted in commercial 3D printers being able to produce finished vessels in a few hours. The researchers explain:
“This approach constitutes a relatively cheap, automated and reconfigurable chemical discovery platform that makes techniques from chemical engineering accessible to typical synthetic laboratories.”
The printing techniques are in the early stages of development, but the team have already managed to produce anti-cancer drugs using the technology. The scientists hope that eventually the 3D printing methods will be used to produce domestic appliances in the homes of the general public, including medication. The implications of this are wide-ranging, but the technology may be available in the future for personal drug manufacture.
Source: smartplanet.comAdded: 21 May 2012