Metallic Architectures from 3D‐Printed Powder‐Based Liquid Inks

A new method for complex metallic architecture fabrication is presented, through synthesis and 3D-printing of a new class of 3D-inks into green-body structures followed by thermochemical transformation into sintered metallic counterparts. Small and large volumes of metal-oxide, metal, and metal compound 3D-printable inks are synthesized through simple mixing of solvent, powder, and the biomedical elastomer, polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA). These inks can be 3D-printed under ambient conditions via simple extrusion at speeds upwards of 150 mm s–1 into millimeter- and centimeter-scale thin, thick, high aspect ratio, hollow and enclosed, and multi-material architectures. The resulting 3D-printed green-bodies can be handled immediately, are remarkably robust, and may be further manipulated prior to metallic transformation. Green-bodies are transformed into metallic counterparts without warping or cracking through reduction and sintering in a H2 atmosphere at elevated temperatures. It is shown that primary metal and binary alloy structures can be created from inks comprised of single and mixed oxide powders, and the versatility of the process is illustrated through its extension to more than two dozen additional metal-based materials. A potential application of this new system is briefly demonstrated through cyclic reduction and oxidation of 3D-printed iron oxide constructs, which remain intact through numerous redox cycles.