3D Printers for Chemistry Education

Teaching Chemistry with 3D Printing

3D printers for schools are quickly making headway in classrooms across the country, integrating with various subjects in many unique ways. Regardless of your specific scholastic discipline, a 3D printer will find its worth in any topic that you’re looking to teach.  The applications are diverse, and the impact far reaching.  Among the many other benefits, the significant integration with progressive learning methods alone is enough to ensure that 3D printers are rapidly becoming a vital classroom fixture.  In the article below, we look more closely at some of the ways in which schools are implementing 3D printers for chemistry education.

3D Printers for Chemistry Education

From the manufacturing of customized lab-ware to visually representing the molecular-level oxidation of metal, 3D printing is recreating chemistry in the classroom. Today’s chemistry classroom can now advance beyond typical lab desks and Bunsen burners. While students are writing in their lab journals, 3D printed molecules are created on the fly for their reference. Each molecule is designed to be interchangeable, yielding numerous permutations for molecular reactions. Not only could you 3D print an atomic representation of plutonium, you can create removable atoms to help students understand various reactions.

For projects, students are fabricating 3D line-angle representations of methane, complete with tetrahedral structured molecules that incorporate precise bond angles. Since 2012, advancements in the ability to 3D print custom lab-ware have also moved forward. Eventually, departments around the country will be able to customize lab-ware specific to their experiments – saving on costs, cleaning time, and maintenance.

Advanced  chemistry students are involved at a much more granular level, helping to develop new polymer filaments, resins, powders, and organic materials optimized for 3D printing. Their work helps create & define new materials with specific mechanical properties, electrical or thermal conductivity, and various textures for 3D printing. Another growing avenue for chemistry education is the ability to 3D print organic matter such as soil, food, and proteins. In the biochemistry and biotechnology front, 3D printers that create cells are also on the horizon.

Increased Educational Appeal

Gone are the days of balancing equations on paper as the only way to describe chemical synthesis.  3D printed models help visually and physically represent reactions, appealing to students who may excel with different methods of education.

Multi-Disciplinary Application

3D printers support multiple disciplines under the umbrella of chemistry, including specific aspects of biochemistry, organic chemistry, chemical thermodynamics, and more.

Chemical Modeling

From high schools to universities, 3D printing integrated with chemistry education enhances the ability for students to learn how our microcosmic world behaves through large scale models.

Case Study: Using 3D Printers for Chemistry Education

For the last four years, Rantoul High School has engaged students in the world of 3D printing using projection microstereo lithography. The goal is to not only to provide them with a hands-on demonstration of 3D printing, but to also show the relationship between energy and light during chemical reactions. The behavior of photopolymer resins, light energy, and small scale manufacturing is explored. Chemistry teachers Tom Gelsthorpe and Kevin Simondsen, in conjunction with the University of Illinois’ engineering department, view it as a leading edge way to connect chemistry, engineering, and general science under one curriculum. “The students’ excitement carries over when they get home from school as well, as I heard from a number of parents who were complimentary of the lab and its effect on their kids. I appreciate having the opportunity to have my students perform in this lab,” said Gelsthorpe. For more information, please visit “3D prototyping shows high school students the engineering behind chemistry”.

3D Printers for Chemistry Education here at 3D Supply Guys

3D Supply Guys provides extensive educational discount programs for students and teachers interested in the world of 3D printing for chemistry. We work with our customers to provide the best prices available in the industry, allowing your department to acquire the equipment and resources necessary to make 3D printing part of your curriculum. From 3D printers to filaments and resins, we listen to our customer’s needs and help them choose the right technology for their teaching strategy. For more information, please contact sales@3Dsupplyguys.com.