What if we can 3D print materials with customized properties?

A lattice material is an open framework of interconnected bars. When we choose the geometry of the lattice, and the raw material it is made from, we can create a new material that has exactly the needed properties, like stiffness, strength, or density. Lattice materials are already used in fields like aerospace due to their high stiffness at low density and their ability to absorb a lot of energy when they are crushed, which is useful for blast protection. While lattice materials used to be difficult to produce with traditional manufacturing techniques, the rapid development of 3D printing is changing the process. Identifying products that can having their mechanical, thermal or acoustic performances improved with lattice materials provides the basis for our future research.

Luc Saint-Pierre, assistant professor