Kyle Maxey via engineering.com
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Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, has become one of the wonder-techs of the new millennium. Granted, while the vast majority of 3D printers on the market are little more than souped-up trinkets, some machines are leveraging the technology’s additive assets to instigate real change.
Chemistry has always been a daunting subject. When confronted with working on the molecular level, extreme precision is required. For many researchers the process of working with small molecules requires such long-durations and precise equipment to synthesize that it prevents them from doing any fundamental research.
To stop this production bottleneck Martin Burke, a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, has been developing a “3D Printer” that can replicate what nature does when it builds small molecules. Key to Burke’s machine is an understanding that there is a small number of small molecules that nature uses to produce a large portion of life’s chemistry.