3D-printed titanium dioxide in space

Experts from two universities are exploring the use of 3D-printed titanium dioxide foam in space.

With potential applications in efficient solar cells, batteries and radiation, US space agency NASA commissioned the researchers to investigate the use and behaviour of titanium dioxide foam in space in 2017.

A team from West Virginia University in the US, and the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy are combining work in materials science and physics of liquid foams to establish possible uses of the TiO2 foam in space.

The foam, printed on earth, will be exposed to low Earth orbit conditions aboard the International Space Station. The team will then look into potential degradation of the material once back on earth.

Majid Jaridi, professor of industrial and management systems engineering at West Virginia University, said: “This degradation data will give significant early insight into the applicability of the TiO2 foam materials for the identified potential space applications before going forward and exploring their printing characteristics under microgravity conditions.”

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