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Research Papers

A Novel Multimaterial Additive Manufacturing Technique for Fabricating Laminated Polymer Nanocomposite Structures

[+] Author and Article Information
Clayson C. Spackman

Department of Mechanical Aerospace and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: spackc@rpi.edu

Kyle C. Picha

Department of Mechanical Aerospace and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: pichak@rpi.edu

Garrett J. Gross

Department of Mechanical Aerospace and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: grossg3@rpi.edu

James F. Nowak

Department of Mechanical Aerospace and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: nowakj2@rpi.edu

Philip J. Smith

Department of Mechanical Aerospace and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: smithp4@rpi.edu

Jian Zheng

Department of Mechanical Aerospace and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: zhengj4@rpi.edu

Johnson Samuel

Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Aerospace and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: samuej2@rpi.edu

Sandipan Mishra

Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Aerospace and
Nuclear Engineering,
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,
Troy, NY 12180
e-mail: mishrs2@rpi.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO- AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received April 14, 2014; final manuscript received November 25, 2014; published online January 15, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Chengying Xu.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 3(1), 011008 (Mar 01, 2015) (11 pages) Paper No: JMNM-14-1029; doi: 10.1115/1.4029263 History: Received April 14, 2014; Revised November 25, 2014; Online January 15, 2015

The objective of this research is to develop a novel, multimaterial additive manufacturing technique for fabricating laminated polymer nanocomposite structures that have characteristic length-scales in the tens of millimeters range. The three-dimensional (3D) printing technology presented in this paper combines the conventional inkjet-based printing of ultraviolet (UV) curable polymers with the deposition of either aligned or random nanoscale fiber mats, in between each printed layer. The fibers are first generated using an electrospinning process that produces the roll of fibers. These fibers are then transferred to the part being manufactured using a stamping operation. The process has been proven to manufacture multimaterial laminated nanocomposites having different 3D geometries. The dimensional accuracy of the parts is seen to be a function of the interaction between the different UV-curable polymer inks. In general, the addition of the nanofibers in the form of laminates is seen to improve the mechanical properties of the material, with the Young’s modulus and the ultimate breaking stress showing the most improvement. The pinning and deflection of microcracks by the nanoscale fiber mats has been identified to be the underlying mechanism responsible for these improved mechanical properties. The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) reveals that these improvements in the mechanical properties are obtained without drastically altering the thermal degradation pattern of the base polymer.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Manufacturing process cycle for fabricating laminated polymer nanocomposite structures: (a) outline of process cycle, (b) cross section showing higher density of nanofiber mats, and (c) cross section showing lower density of nanofiber mats

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Fig. 2

Collector plate and parallel electrode configuration for aligned nanofiber production (note: Figs. 2(b)2(d) present simulated electric field lines): (a) collector plate and electrode geometry for aligned nanofiber generation, (b) top-view, (c) front and side views showing uniform density of electric field lines for a collector of radius (R) 304 mm, and (d) front view showing nonuniform density of electric field lines for a flat collector plate (R = infinity)

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Fig. 3

Fiber collection system: (a) overall system, (b) close-up of fiber generation region in (a), and (c) reel-to-reel automated fiber roll manufacture

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Fig. 4

Nanofiber collection results (scale bar = 2 μm): (a) random nanofibers—fiber A and (b) aligned nanofibers—fiber B

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Fig. 5

Details of the 3D printing system (exploded view): (a) MicroFab inkjet nozzles, (b) ink reservoirs, (c) feed-reel and take-up reel driven by servos, (d) nanofiber roll, (e) rollers at the entry and exit of the stamping region, (f) rectangular stamping region 50 mm × 100 mm, (g) carbide cutter with 90 deg rotary capability, (h) rod lens of Dymax UV system, (i) pneumatic slide, (j) heat lamp, and (k) substrate mount

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Fig. 6

Details of nanofiber cutting and stamping: (a) tool-path of the carbide cutter, (b) tool-path implementation, (c) intended nanofiber release region, and (d) side-view showing poststamping fiber release regions

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Fig. 7

Pyramidal prototype drawing: (a) pyramid geometry and (b) three-material part

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Fig. 8

Dog-bone specimen drawing (all dimensions in mm)

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Fig. 9

Droplet spacing test for polymer A (note: the dotted line indicates the desired edge with its right side being the print area for the polymer)

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Fig. 10

Two-material prototype: polymer A + fiber A: (a) after 2 h, (b) after 9 h, (c) final part after 17.5 h, and (d) cross section

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Fig. 11

Three-material prototype: polymer B + fiber A + polymer A: (a) after 8 h, (b) after 11 h—final layer of polymer B, (c) after 12 h—five layers of polymer A, (d) after 20 h, (e) final part after 22 h, and (f) final prototype with U.S. penny for size reference (front view on left and top view on right)

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Fig. 12

Fractured surfaces of the layered nanocomposites (scale = 40 μm): (a) polymer B, (b) polymer B + fiber A (random nanofibers), and (c) polymer B + fiber B (aligned nanofibers)

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Fig. 13

Thermograms and its derivatives [note: black solid line—polymer B, black dotted line—polymer B + fiber A (random nanofibers), and red solid line—nylon]

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