The conductivity of the ink can double as electrical wiring. (Credit: Michigan Tech)

Researchers have created a way to make a 3D printable nanocomposite polymeric ink that uses carbon nanotubes (CNTs) — known for their high tensile strength and lightness. This revolutionary ink could replace epoxies — and understanding why its properties are so fantastic is a first step toward its mass use.

Adding low-dimensional nanomaterials such as CNTs, graphene, metal nanoparticles, and quantum dots allows 3D printed materials to adapt to external stimuli, giving them features such as electrical and thermal conductance, magnetism, and electrochemical storage.

The conductivity of nanomaterial ink is an exceptionally handy trait that gives the printed epoxy the potential to double as electrical wiring such as those in 3D printed actuators for guiding catheters in blood vessels. Another useful trait of the nanocomposite polymer ink is its strength. The nanocomposites also serve a safety function.

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