3D Printable inks using 2D material MXene: the future of electronics

Copyright: iStock/enot-poloskun

Researchers at The University of Manchester have created a 3D printable ink using 2D material, MXene.

MXene is a highly conductible material which researchers at The University of Manchester have been using to 3D print electrodes that can be used in energy storage devices such as super capacitors, a device that is able to produce huge amounts of power with minimal energy expenditure.

MXene has been referred to by researchers as a “clay-like” material composed of early transition metals like titanium.

Created at Drexel University in Philadelphia, MXene is an uncharacteristically conductive clay once dry. Due to it being hydrophilic, it allows for easy disbursement in liquids such as inks.

After the discovery of the world’s first two-dimensional material, Graphene, it has opened doors for the exploration of other two-dimensional materials with varying properties that have not been seen before in materials of their kind.

These materials are virtually useless if not integrated into society for commercial use.

Dr Suelen Barg who led the team that created the 3D printable ink using 2D material, MXene, said: “We demonstrate that large MXene flakes spanning a few atoms thick, and water can be independently used to formulate inks with very specific viscoelastic behaviour for printing. These inks can be directly 3D printed into freestanding architectures over 20 layers tall. Due to the excellent electrical conductivity of MXene, we can employ our inks to directly 3D print current collector-free super capacitors. The unique properties combined with the sustainability of the approach open many opportunities to explore, especially in energy storage and applications requiring the functional properties of 2D MXene in customised 3D architectures.”

Wenji and Jae, PhD students at the Nano3D Lab at The University of Manchester, said: “Additive manufacturing offers one possible method of building customised, multi-materials energy devices, demonstrating the capability to capture MXene’s potential for usage in energy applications. We hope this research will open avenues to fully unlock the potential of MXene for use in this field.”


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