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Gold Particle 'Shine' Helps Find Defects in 3D Printing

This innovative technique allows gold to actually ‘shine’ inside 3D printed parts to highlight any problem. Vanderbilt University researchers used tiny particles of the precious metal, which actually show up as a deep maroon color. The nanoparticles are about 100,000 times thinner than a human hair, but they could solve a major problem in manufacturing. The process involves mixing the gold nanoparticles with a dissolved plastic polymer, dispersing it throughout the medium. When it hardens, the plastic is pressed into gold nanoparticle-filled polymer tubing, which can then be used in standard 3D printers. After a part is printed, it goes into a special UV-Vis spectrophotometer to inspect for defects.