Additive Manufacturing of Highly Filled Materials

Researcher: Antoine Delarue

Sponsor: Army Research Laboratory

Collaborators: UMass Lowell (UML) Plastics Engineering

Description: Due to its adaptability and its capacity to print complex shapes, Additive Manufacturing (AM) is being explored to fabricate highly loaded composite materials. The potential to completely tailor the properties of a product through the natures and ratio of the matrix and the fillers, and to reach new shapes that were not possible with common subtractive techniques, opens the design space for new applications. However, the range of processable materials that AM techniques can manufacture is limited by the viscosity increase imposed by the filler in liquid feedstocks, and which often results in the inability to process the filled formulations. Our work is focused on enabling the printing of highly loaded formulations in the Digital Light Processing and Ambient Reactive Extrusion print techniques. We aim to investigate the feasibility of multi-modal particle size distributions and active vibrations to increase the solids loading fraction, and to address the lack of knowledge on these topics as they relate to AM printing.