Several scientific animations produced by Magipics for the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science at Wollongong University are focused on the use of electromaterials for bionic purposes. These materials have properties that make them compatible with biological tissue and cells.
One very successful example of such a material is that used in cochlear implants. This goes hand-in-hand with the exciting new field of 3D bioprinting, which opens up revolutionizing possibilities to custom-build prosthetic devices and even entire new organs from scratch.
The animation presented here, “Integrated Electromaterial Systems”, describes how 3D printing and integrated fabrication strategies are used to generate complex multi-component structures, containing several materials. It explains how extrusion printing can be used to build up structural components such as a biomaterial scaffold.
The animation also demonstrates symbolically how the extruded material may contain additional components that react or self-assemble in order to introduce extra strength or other properties to the material.
Animating the polymer string being extruded from a nozzle and forming layers on itself was not trivial. We used the physics simulation engine in the Maya animation software to solve this task. To achieve this, a long vertical string object, held inside the nozzle object by collision constraints, was lowered at a rate carefully balanced with the speed of the nozzle movement.
Several parameters, such as friction against the inside of the nozzle, the flat surface and the string itself required very fine adjustments to generate the ordered square pattern and avoid uncontrollable coiling.
It was interesting hearing the client’s response when I described this: “well you know everything about 3D printing now!” Apparently we were confronted by exactly the same physical parameters! Often the simulated reality in an animation parallels real life very closely.
Please turn on your sound, as the animation is narrated. I hope you find it interesting!