Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) of Polymer Nanocomposites

A.A. Rashid, S.A. Khan, M. Koc
Hammad Bin Khalifa University,
Qatar

Keywords: additive manufacturing, composites, fused deposition modelling (fdm), nanocomposites

Summary:

Millions of tons polymer waste (such as PET bottles, polythene bags etc) is produced throughout the world annually. Dumping or degradation of such plastic waste is still a challenging issue which needs to be addressed promptly and properly. Polymer-based materials are gaining popularity for their utilization in industrial sectors due to their low density and low cost, but holds limitations due to inferior mechanical properties. On the other hand, metallic alloys are conventionally used in industrial applications where mechanical strength is a priority, but metallic mechanical components hold drawbacks of relatively high cost, weight, corrosion and limitations in manufacturability. Additive manufacturing processes provide flexible solutions for customized products; however, the printing of customized materials is still a challenge. In this study, Fusion Deposition Modelling (FDM) technique is used for additive manufacturing of mechanical components using polymer material (poly-lactic acid, PLA). PLA is an environment friendly polymer and is biodegradable. To improve the mechanical properties of base material, PLA is reinforced with carbon based nano-particles (Graphene, CNTs, Carbon Black). This step is followed by the characterization of the final composite material. SEM, thermal conductivity and tensile testing was performed to compare the properties of the final product with base material. Enhanced thermo-mechanical properties were achieved with the addition of nano-particles. The material is successfully tested for printing for FDM based 3-D printing technique.