Ci3DP: 3D Printing with Chocolate Ink at Singapore University of Technology & Design
In the recently published ‘Chocolate-based Ink Three-Dimensional Printing (Ci3DP),’ authors Rahul Karyappa and Michinao Hashimoto discuss the tasty merits of making desserts in 3D. Although printing in chocolate is not exactly a novelty anymore, there are still countless ways to serve it up, and here, the researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design explore using chocolate-based inks in direct-ink writing (DIW)—while also coining a new abbreviation for chocolate-based ink 3D printing: Ci3DP.
They printed in both syrup and paste, using a variety of cocoa powder concentrations, without any temperature control. This is a ‘material’ used quite often these days for hot-melt extrusion, with chocolate becoming solid at room temperature.
“The rheological properties of the chocolate-based inks were studied to identify the properties suitable for DIW at the room temperature. To obtain good print fidelity, the effects of the three parameters of the printing—applied pressure (P), deposited mass of the ink per unit length (m) and the distance between two layers (Δz)—were studied,” stated the researchers.
The team endeavored to make both single and multiple chocolate-based inks, with the option for Ci3DP at room temperature. The printability of materials was based on both rheological properties of ink and DIW parameters, with commercial cake icing used as a reference point.
The researchers were looking for three features in their printing ink:
- Suitable rheological characteristics
- Proper dispensing of ink from the nozzle
- Good motion and control from the robot attached to syringe and nozzle
- Good shear thinning properties
The research team tested three different commercial products for printability, to include one icing, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, and Nutella, with formulated ink, stirred until ready and stored in a sealed bottle. The researchers then used a DIW 3D printer with a 3D printing robot and dispenser, employing a single syringe nozzle.
The inks for this project were both shear-thinning and able to solidify, forming layers during room temperature—allowing the team to eliminate hot-melt extrusion. Ci3DP also allowed the research team to create ink with liquid fillings employing multiple dispensers.
“Ci3DP is flexible and should be capable of fabricating customized food in a wide range of materials with tailored texture and nutritional content. The effect of addition of varying concentrations of cocoa powders in chocolate-based inks on the textural, nutritional and sensorial properties are to be studied,” concluded the researchers.
“This approach offers an alternative route of 3D modeling of food, especially when food ingredients or additives are sensitive to temperature. The use of multiple nozzles should offer interesting avenues to control distribution of the materials within the printed structure and shall find applications in the design of texture and controlled release of nutrients.”
3D printing offers so many valuable uses within industry and manufacturing; however, nothing gets us all more excited than the prospect of fabricating desserts! And especially chocolate, from creations inspired by nature to holiday themes, to specialty mashed potatoes.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source / Images: ‘Chocolate-based Ink Three-Dimensional Printing (Ci3DP)’]
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