Project BARBARA to Develop New Bio-Based 3D Printing Materials and Prototypes for Automotive and Construction Industries

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Multiple 3D printing projects have been funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 framework, from a cancer-measuring transducer and the MESO-BRAIN Initiative’s work with emulating accurate brain activity to the Bionic Aircraft research project and 3D printed bricks from simulated moon dust. Horizon 2020, with almost €80 billion of funding available until the year 2020, is the biggest EU Research and Innovation program ever, and is seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs. The latest 3D printing project the framework is funding is Project BARBARA (Biopolymers with advanced functionalities for building and automotive parts processed through additive manufacturing), a 36-month long research project between 11 partners from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

The budget for Project BARBARA is €2.7 million, which is almost all coming from the European Union; the city of Zaragoza in Spain recently hosted the project’s opening meeting. The goal of the project, which centers around chemistry, research, and Industry 4.0, is to develop new bio-based 3D printing materials by incorporating biomass additives, so industrial prototypes can be created through the FFF 3D printing process. Project partners will work to develop two prototypes, which will demonstrate the benefits and prospects of the new biomaterials for the automotive and construction industries.

We’ve seen 3D printing materials made from ocean waste, plastic waste, and even waste from your very own 3D printer, but the new materials that the Project BARBARA partners are developing have to be based on agricultural byproducts from corn, or food waste from fruits, nuts, and vegetables, like pomegranates, almonds, or carrots. In addition, the biomaterials must have very specific properties, ranging from mechanical and thermal to antimicrobial and optical, in order to be used in industrial components for the demanding fields of automotive and construction.

While plastics based on biomass materials, like PLA, are often used in consumer and household 3D printing, Project BARBARA is working to use the materials at an industrial level, while also accounting for the requirements that manufactured pieces need to meet at the beginning of the 3D printing process, when enriching additives and engineering materials are formulated. The private R&D foundation AITIIP Technology Centre, located in Aragon, Spain, is coordinating the project; according to its website, the facility is highly qualified in industrial 3D printing for plastic, metal, composite, and ceramic, and manufactures fully functional elements, with certified materials, for multiple industries, including automotive and aeronautics.

AITIIP is currently participating in a total of seven different Horizon 2020 projects, and will be developing the new 3D printing procedure and manufacturing the demonstrator prototypes for the automotive and construction industries. The Italian University of Perugia will be monitoring the entire Project BARBARA process, and the other entities and companies involved in the project cover the entire project chain, from food and waste suppliers to automotive and construction end-users. Project BARBARA partners include:

The automotive and construction sectors will both benefit from the project, but other fields may also come to profit from its impact and outcomes. The initial goal is to develop demonstrator prototypes, like dashboard fascia and car door handles for the automotive field and molds for truss joints and structures in the construction field. But ultimately, the project will be helping to create two new value chains, as well as developing a forward-looking, modern industry that has the potential to completely transform new material production; if new, more environmentally friendly extractive processes can be successfully put into action, materials consumption and energy could be reduced. Additionally, Project BARBARA will “contribute to the growth of related industries within the bio-economy and circular economy European Framework,” as Aitiip notes.

Discuss in the Project BARBARA forum at 3DPB.com.

 

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