Jamming With 3D Printers at the University of Chicago
No, not the guitar-playing jamming… In the world of material science, “jamming” is what occurs when the volume available to a bunch of grains in a granular material (such as sand) gets so small that the grains jam into each other, effectively getting stuck. Depending on the shape of the grains, the material will display different characteristics such as strength, flexibility and friction. Got it? Moving on…
Heinrich Jaeger is a Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago and runs a laboratory for investigating experimental condensed matter. Several of their projects involved showing how granular jamming could be put to practical use. He and his students want to learn what the ideal shapes are for these randomly packed grains or particles for the characteristic(s) that they want to optimize.
Traditionally, they would explore different shapes based on their previous experience. In the past, they were essentially limited to shapes that they could find and/or have “armies” of graduate students prepare by hand.
The use of 3D printing became essential for their research.
Professor Jaeger’s lab became the first lab on the University of Chicago campus to have a 3D Printer. The printer they chose was a Stratasys Objet Connex350 multi-material 3D Printer.
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.