An Industrial Collaboration for Thermally Controlled 3D-Printed Metal/Polymer Components

3D printed aluminum- and stainless steel-based columns. Imagen: Ester Palmero.

Among the primary technological difficulties when attempting to integrate metal particles with polymers for the fabrication of practical composites is the possibility of attaining a high metal concentration distributed in an ideal polymer. Not every polymer stands for the synthesis of metal-based composites considering that problems such as solubility are important. Obstacles extend after the synthesis of the composite to the fabrication of a constant wire or filament to attain a high metal material and not simply a polymeric item with dispersed metal particles. This is of severe significance to end with 3D-printed metal/polymer components offering high thermal conductivity (when required) and mechanical stability in view of useful applications.

The technological novelty of the work established by IMDEA Nanociencia and RAMEM consists of: 1) recognition of polymers (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, ABS) sufficient to be integrated with metal particles (aluminum and stainless-steel) for the synthesis of composites through a scalable approach; 2) fabrication of constant filaments (above 15 m long as proof-of-concept) with high versatility and a high metal material of 80%; and 3) thermally controlled printing of components utilizing metal/polymer filament, without any requirement of going to laser assisted approaches. This 3D-printing approach enables an individualized production and production of complex and light geometries.

The fabrication approach proposed by Dr. Palmero and colleagues removes production and postprocessing devices and tooling, and reduces product waste, conserving in this method considerable production expense. Additionally, this thermally controlled 3D-printing approach may be integrated with basic additive production innovations for the fabrication of multimaterial and multifunctional metal components.

In view of prospective technological applications in sectors such as aeronautics and aerospace, this work might open a brand-new course (from the composite synthesis to the 3D-printing procedure) for the fabrication of pieces with controlled and tuned quantity of metal particles, approximate styles, and in effect, tuned physical residential or commercial properties.

This work is the outcome of the collaboration in between the business RAMEM S.A. and the Group of Permanent Magnets and Applications led by Dr. Bollero at IMDEA Nanociencia, and has actually been partly moneyed by the Regional Federal Government of Madrid by means of the “Cheque Innovación” (Ref. 45/421504.9/17) and the job NANOMAGCOST, in addition to the Centre of Quality Severo Ochoa acknowledgment to IMDEA Nanociencia (2017-2021).

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