MIT suggests using plants as ink for 3D printers

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a method to use plant cellulose as a raw material for 3D printing. According to the study participants, cellulose will become a cheap, biodegradable alternative to hydrocarbon polymers such as ABS, which are widely used today.

According to one of the leading experts at MIT Sebastian Pattinson, cellulose is the most abundant natural organic polymer. In one form or another, it is widely used in pharmacology, the medical industry, in the manufacture of food additives, building materials and in other industries.

To obtain the "ink", the MIT scientists used cellulose acetate, a material with a reduced content of hydrogen bonds, which makes it readily soluble in acetone. The result is a beautiful "ink" that can be easily squeezed through the nozzles of a 3D printer. During the formation of the product, acetone evaporates, and the material hardens at ordinary temperatures.

By adding antimicrobial dye to the cellulose "ink", the scientists printed a pair of antibacterial tweezers on the surface of which microbes are killed by daylight.