3D printing technology is changing the way we manufacture nearly everything, but glass has been beyond its reaches—until now. Bastian Rapp and colleagues have developed technology that allows them to 3D print high-quality, intricate glass shapes, like tiny pretzels or castles, and produce complex lenses and filters of high optical quality. They achieved this by developing a free-flowing silica nanocomposite called “liquid glass.”
We spoke to Rapp to find out more about his work, which appears in a new Nature study.
Bastian Rapp: We wanted to close an important gap in the material palette for modern 3D printing techniques. 3D printing is the manufacturing revolution of the 21st century, and glass has until now been a material that was not accessible for 3D printing. Because of our work, this is now possible.
Rapp: Glass has many applications in industry and academia, but also of course in everyday life. From printing …