Professor Michael McAlpine

CSENG Mechanical Engineering
College of Science & Engineering
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
3D Printing Functional Materials and Devices

The development of methods for interfacing high performance functional devices with biology could impact regenerative medicine, smart prosthetics, and human-machine interfaces. Indeed, the ability to three-dimensionally interweave biological and functional materials could enable the creation of devices possessing unique geometries, properties, and functionalities. Yet, most high quality functional materials are two-dimensional, hard and brittle, and require high crystallization temperatures for maximal performance. These properties render the corresponding devices incompatible with biology, which is three-dimensional, soft, stretchable, and temperature sensitive.

These researchers overcome these dichotomies by: using 3D printing and scanning for customized, interwoven, anatomically accurate device architectures; employing nanotechnology as an enabling route for overcoming mechanical discrepancies while retaining high performance; and 3D printing a range of soft and nanoscale materials to enable the integration of a diverse palette of high quality functional nanomaterials with biology.

​3D printing is a multi-scale platform, allowing for the incorporation of functional nanoscale inks, the printing of microscale features, and ultimately the creation of macroscale devices. This three-dimensional blending of functional materials and "living" platforms may enable next-generation 3D printed devices. The nature of these on-going projects requires different simulation, computer-aided engineering, data visualization, and image processing software available through MSI.

Project Investigators

Nathan Carter
Ghazaleh Haghiashtiani
Professor Michael McAlpine
Kaiyan Qiu
Ruitao Su
Zhijie Zhu
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