Forget glassblowing, now we can 3D print intricate glass sculptures from a silica compound. This is awesome – just look at that pretzel.
This is all thanks to a new technique developed by German researchers, combining silica (the main component of glass) particles with the precursor to a plastic (what allows the material to be printed).
The flexibility in shape and structure of the glass comes from the mould the mixture is printed into, with precision down to the microscopic level. The moulded mixture is then converted to plastic, and finally heated to burn off the plastic and set the glass, leaving behind pure silica glass with no cracks or holes.
Hey presto, glass pretzel!
The research was published in Nature.