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NASA funds lab to demonstrate ‘replicator’ 3D printer to produce cartilage in space


Nicknamed ‘The Replicator,’ the breakthrough volumetric additive manufacturing know-how co-developed by Lawrence Livermore Nationwide Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley takes computed tomography (CT) “views” of 3D objects from a number of angles, and initiatives these photographs right into a photosensitive resin. The resin cures at factors the place the collected, absorbed gentle vitality exceeds the gel thresholds, and when the remaining liquid resin is drained, it produces 3D objects inside seconds or minutes, a lot sooner than conventional layer-by-layer 3D printing methods. Credit: Jake Lengthy/TID.

The Nationwide Aeronautics and House Administration (NASA) introduced April 15 it has awarded Lawrence Livermore Nationwide Laboratory (LLNL) and a non-public firm with funding to develop LLNL’s revolutionary volumetric additive manufacturing (VAM) 3D printing know-how to provide synthetic cartilage tissue in house.

The award, considered one of eight initiatives chosen by NASA’s In House Manufacturing Purposes (InSPA) program, will permit LLNL and Kentucky-based house life sciences firm House Tango to mature prototypes of the “replicator” know-how—a ultrafast 3D printer co-developed by LLNL and the University of California, Berkeley—for bioprinting in microgravity on the Worldwide House Station (ISS). The VAM printers are be anticipated to function with little to no crew intervention.

The breakthrough VAM know-how takes computed tomography (CT) “views” of 3D objects from a number of angles, and initiatives these photographs right into a photosensitive resin. The resin cures at factors the place the collected, absorbed light energy exceeds the gel thresholds, and when the remaining liquid resin is drained, it produces 3D objects inside seconds or minutes, a lot sooner than conventional layer-by-layer 3D printing methods.

“This proposal is significant because it builds on LLNL’s internal investments in this area over the last few years,” mentioned LLNL principal investigator Maxim Shusteff. “Space Tango’s participation highlights the promise of the VAM technology, and connects us with the commercial spaceflight industry. In addition, space-based manufacturing has been of interest for several years for the LLNL 3D printing community—and for me personally—so starting to build a program in this direction is tremendously exciting.”

NASA funds LLNL to demonstrate 'replicator' 3D printer to produce cartilage in space
The Worldwide House Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour throughout a fly-around of the orbiting lab that befell following its undocking from the Concord module’s space-facing port on Nov. 8, 2021. Credit: NASA.

LLNL’s companion within the endeavor, House Tango, has years of expertise in growing automated microgravity experiments within the pursuit of producing well being and know-how options in space. Since their first business launch in 2017, House Tango has carried out almost 200 experiments on the ISS that intention to enhance life on Earth.

“Microgravity is a platform for innovation, and it allows us to think creatively about the limitations gravity can have on Earth-based research,” mentioned House Tango Chief Technique Officer Alain Berinstain. “With the opportunity to expand on existing bioprinting techniques in a very new way, Space Tango is thrilled to partner with LLNL to potentially discover human health solutions that wouldn’t have been possible on Earth.”

The InSPA awards assist NASA’s plans to allow manufacturing “In Space for Earth” on the ISS, to develop new and promising applied sciences for advanced materials and merchandise to be used on Earth, and create a sturdy financial system in low-Earth orbit. Complete InSPA funding for the spherical of eight initiatives was about $21 million.

Shusteff mentioned VAM is anticipated to carry out notably effectively in zero or micro-gravity environments as a result of eliminating gravity, which might trigger buoyant settling or convection of the resin when printing on Earth, will create better-precision prints, and permit researchers to focus consideration on fixing different technical challenges.

Shusteff added that tissue engineering with VAM could possibly be one space the place spaceborne manufacturing in microgravity might considerably profit the result.

“Cartilage tissue was chosen as a good balance of market need, impact to patients, technical feasibility and our available expertise,” he mentioned.


New materials help expand volumetric 3-D printing


Quotation:
NASA funds lab to reveal ‘replicator’ 3D printer to provide cartilage in house (2022, April 21)
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