Chinese researchers investigate lemon juice gel as food material for 3D printing
The aim of this paper is to develop a new 3D printing food constructs based on lemon juice gel system. We investigated the effect of potato starch (10, 12.5, 15, 17.5 and 20 g/100 g) on the rheological properties and mechanical properties of lemon juice gels. Besides, the influence of printing parameters (nozzle height, nozzle diameter, extrusion rate and nozzle movement speed) on the quality of printed products were also studied. The results show that it is suitable to make the size of the nozzle height the same with that of the nozzle diameter, which could not be regarded as a key factor that affects print quality. An equation is proposed to explain the relationship between extrusion rate, nozzle diameter and nozzle movement speed. In this printing system, the 1 mm nozzle diameter, 24 mm3/s extrusion rate and 30 mm/s nozzle movement speed were found to be the optimal parameters to print 3D constructs matching the target geometry with fine resolution, more smooth surface texture, and fewer point defects with no compressed deformation.
3D printing, also known as additive layer manufacturing, is a type of rapid prototyping technology, which involves the integration of computer, direct writ systems, precision transmission, numerical control technologies and material science. Although it was invented in 1980s, only in recent years does it develop rapidly. In the printing process, the material is generally extruded through a nozzle whose position is computer-controlled in accordance with a shape design model. For the production of a product of a particular shape, the traditional process usually requires a model to be produced, while 3D printing eliminates the process. Therefore, compared with the traditional technology, 3D printing has the advantages of time-saving, simple operation and customizable in the whole manufacturing process.