Fighting viruses with 3D printing: based on innovative indirect additive technology, metal AM service company MetShape 3D printed a high-precision virus model that cannot be produced with this level of detail with other metal AM processes. The figure on the right shows the model of an influenza virus with a diameter of ca. As a 3D printing service provider, MetShape specializes in complex problems and metallic micro-precision parts, enabling it to support this research project with its innovative technology, by printing a high-precision virus model on the scale 250000:1. Thanks to its expertise in precise indirect additive manufacturing processes, MetShape was able to print, debind and sinter the model, and provide a finished model to nanoGUNE. No post-processing steps for the virus model were required, as MetShape’s technology achieves excellent surface quality without the requirement of support structures. Compared to a standard polymer model, the metal model performs significantly better due to the lower mass of the water, based on the smaller size of the model. In the case of the polymer model the resulting large water mass causes droplet artifacts, while the metal model is properly wetted. NanoGUNE is enthusiastic about the results obtained working with the 3D printing service provider: “Thanks to the model printed by MetShape, we can now carry out our experiments on the wetting and dewetting of water on viruses and thus achieve a new milestone in the research of virus aerosols. With the new possibilities through innovative manufacturing technologies, we are taking a big step closer to our long-term goal of protecting as many people as possible from virus infections”, said Ikerbasque Prof. Alexander Bittner.

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