Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a method to 3D print heating elements. The created heating elements could be very small and at the same time they can create high temperatures.
Heating elements may have various uses, like ones for chemical reactions that often need some sort of heating to work. For this purpose it was common to use a laser to create high temperatures at a small scale, but it is very expensive and doesn’t provide a consistent temperature. This is why researchers decided to develop a new technique to 3D print very small heating elements.They used a special filament that consists of graphene oxide. With their current 3D printer it’s possible to print heating elements as small as 200µm. When the graphene oxide is carbonized it becomes RGO (reduced graphene oxide), a highly conductive stable material that can generate high temperatures and also works under vacuum. To heat the printed elements the team only need power running through them. The researchers are still working on generating higher temperatures – up until now 3.000 Kelvin (2.726,85 degree Celsius) are possible. They are also working to make the printed heating elements small, with a target to create heating elements that are only a few nanometres in size.