Marie Sklodowska-Curie grantee comes to Scion

Dr Claire Mayer and Dr Marie-Joo Le Guen will be using plant-based resources in new materials that can change with their environment.

Dr Claire Mayer has arrived in New Zealand ready to begin a two-year research programme to explore the use of plant material in 4D printing.

Claire works for France's National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAe) and was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSC) fellowship in 2020. MSC fellowships are regarded as one of the most prestigious and highly competitive grant programmes in the world. The fellowship is supporting Claire to work at Scion for two years.

4D printing with plant material

While at Scion, Claire will be researching plant biomass to explore the qualities it could bring to a material when used to replace fossil-fuel components.

Claire explains, “In woody plant biomass, the functional elements are buried within plant tissues but milling or grinding plant material to ultrafine powders could bring hidden qualities to the surface and allow plant material to be used in advanced 4D printing technologies. We specifically want to understand if we can use plant powder to bring new qualities that we can use to design smart materials for 4D printing (where printed material changes in relation to environmental stimuli).

Research will test agricultural byproducts that are widely available in France and New Zealand, such as powders from rice husk, hemp core and flax shives (waste from processing flax and hemp) and pine bark. Scientists aim to create materials that react to the environment using treated plant biomass with new functionalities. This research combines INRAe’s experience milling plant biomass and Scion’s knowledge of additive manufacturing.

Why Scion?

When asked why she chose to come to Scion, Claire says, “In Europe, Scion is renowned for its world class capability in biopolymer and biomass extrusion, characterisation and 3D/4D printing using biobased materials. Scion has the capabilities and expertise to characterise powder from biomass and bioproducts (solid-state NMR, confocal microscopy) which supplements the tools available in France. Together we can develop joint methodologies.

For more information on this project, contact

Dr Claire Mayer or Dr Marie-Joo Le Guen

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