Universitat de Girona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN20 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 2076-2083
ISBN: 978-84-09-17979-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2020.0655
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Introduction of additive manufacturing technologies (3D printing) in the industrial field, demands for new educational strategies tailored to embrace its essential principles and its innovative potential. In addition, the incorporation of 3D printing techniques in the academic field is presented as a teaching opportunity to integrate knowledge in a more creative, challenging and interdisciplinary way. Generally, fossil-based polymeric materials such as polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene (PE), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), among others, have been used in the manufacturing field for the obtention of final products. However, the increasing environmental awareness requires the exploration of novel materials which are biobased and biodegradable. To increase the mechanical performance and reduce the final cost in these biopolymers with respect to conventional synthetic materials, the use of natural fibers as reinforcing agents is a commonly used technique, giving rise to the so-called biocomposites. In this context, 3D printing along with the development of “green” materials are called to take active part in the engineering and manufacturing sector, making necessary to explore a new path in the academic field to fit the upcoming demands.

In this context, members of LEPAMAP-PRODIS research group (Universitat de Girona) developed a demonstrative experience to third-grade chemical engineering students. The experience could be divided in three different parts: preparation of eco-friendly materials, product prototyping via graphic design software, and final 3D printing of their model/product. During the experience, it was of great importance that the students could interact with the equipment and be integrated via direct participation. Based on it, three main objectives were established as main goals to be achieved:
- Rise of environmental conscientious among students by the preparation of “green” materials.
- Interdisciplinary activity involving materials science, product design, and manufacturing techniques.
- Acquisition of theoretical skills related to new materials and 3D printing technologies.

The success of the experience was evaluated via its direct supervision, a satisfactory survey, and a final theoretical test.

Briefly, the experience resulted satisfactory. The students found 3D printing an attractive way of learning and getting to know concepts related to novel “green” materials and innovative manufacturing techniques. However, the great interest amongst students contrasted with a clear lack of knowledge in this field, revealing the need of introducing students this emerging area so the void in the curricula can be fulfilled.
Sustainability, additive manufacturing, green products, 3D printing, chemical engineering, educational experience.