A team of scientists at The University of Nottingham has been awarded a £3.5m grant to develop a new library of 3D printing materials which could accelerate commercial uptake of the technology.
The team aims to create ‘plug and play’ platforms of materials, material combinations and formulations which could be used to develop 3D printed products in fields as diverse as pharmaceuticals, food, agrochemicals and consumer products.
UK is already at the forefront of this rapidly developing field, but this step will allow UK industry to leapfrog other nations in the area of multi-material, multifunctional 3D printing; the project’s industrial partners - GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, PPG, Syngenta and Malvern Instruments – have cited the current limited range of materials as an obstacle to the commercial development of 3D printing.
By establishing a suite of new materials from which anyone can select to most appropriate 3D printable material for their product, the limited palette of materials available to industry will be removed and significant barrier to the wider adoption of the technology significantly reduced.
“There is considerable industrial demand for this kind of product in the 3D printing industry, which could help the technology to reach its full potential as a manufacturing platform in the UK,” explains project lead, Professor Ricky Wildman, from the Faculty of Engineering at The University of Nottingham.
The project will build on the considerable success that The University of Nottingham has had in the fields of 3D printing and high throughput pharmaceutical analysis.
The Future Formulation Plug and Play Materials for 3D Printing grant was awarded to Professor Wildman and his team by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The University of Nottingham team comprises Professor Wildman, Professor Richard Hague, Professor Ian Ashcroft, Dr Chris Tuck and Dr Derek Irvine, from the Faculty of Engineering; Professor Clive Roberts and Professor Morgan Alexander form the School of Pharmacy; Tim Foster, Professor of Food Manufacturing and director of Centre for Innovative Food Manufacturing; and David Ambilino, Professor of Sustainable Chemistry.
Wayne Hayes, Professor of Polymer Chemistry at the University of Reading; Tom Mills, Lecturer in Food Manufacturing; Fotios Spyropoulos, Early Career Researcher in Chemical Engineering, and Professor Ian Norton, Director of Centre for Formulation Engineering; all from the University of Birmingham, also play key roles in achieving the goals of the project.
The Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Group is currently an EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing (CIMAM) and also a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. Professor Ricky Wildman is a Co-Investigator in both the CIMAM and CDT.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
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