What is it about?

Based on the theory of scientometrics, 2,769 literatures on the 3D printing theme were found in the Web of Science Core Collection’ Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED) index between 1995-2016. These were analyzed to explore the research hotspots and emerging trends of 3D printing with the software CiteSpaceIII.

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Why is it important?

3D printing is believed to be driving the third industrial revolution. However, a scientometric visualizing of 3D printing research and an exploration its hotspots and emerging trends are lacking. This study aims to promote the theory development of 3D printing, help researchers to determine the research direction and provide a reference for enterprises and government to plan the development of 3D printing industry by a comprehensive understanding of the hotspots and trends of 3D printing.


Hotspots had appeared first in 1993, grew rapidly from 2005 and peaked in 2013; hotspots in the “medical field” appeared earliest and have remained extremely active; hotspots have evolved from “drug”, “printer”, “rapid prototyping” and “3D printing” in the 1990s, through “laser-induced consolidation”, “scaffolds”, “sintering” and “metal matrix composites” in the 2000s, to the current hotspots of “stereolithography”, “laser additive manufacturing”, “medical images”; “3D bioprinting”, “titanium”, “Cstem cell” and “chemical reaction” were the emerging hotspots in recent years; “Commercial operation” and “fusion with emerging technology such as big data” may create future hotspots.

Dr. Yuran Jin
University of Science and Technology Liaoning

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Visualizing the hotspots and emerging trends of 3D printing through scientometrics, Rapid Prototyping Journal, July 2018, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/rpj-05-2017-0100.
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