One-step, 3D printing for multimaterial projects developed by WSU researchers

May 30, 2018

PULLMAN, Wash. - Similar to the advance from black and white to color printing, a Washington State University research team for the first time has used 3D printing technology in a one-step process to print structures made of two different materials.

The advance could potentially help manufacturers reduce manufacturing steps and use one machine to make complex products with multiple parts in one operation. Until now, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has been limited to using mostly one material at a time.

Led by Amit Bandyopadhyay, Herman and Brita Lindholm Endowed Chair Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the researchers used 3D printing technology to print out metal and ceramic structures as well as a bimetallic tube that is magnetic in one end and nonmagnetic in the other. The report on their work is published in the May issue of Additive Manufacturing.

More precise, versatile product characteristics

Three-dimensional printing has changed the landscapes of many industrial practices and has significantly influenced product design protocols. Anyone who wants a custom part can design it on a computer and then simply print it out.

However, manufacturers can only put one material into a printer to print out parts. By being able to use more than one material at a time, they will be able to better control properties like heat conduction, corrosion protection, as well as environmental adaptation in their materials.

"This is a step towards the next level of manufacturing and the next generation of design, validation, optimization and manufacturing using 3D printing," said Bandyopadhyay.

Strength without adhesives

With adoption of multimaterial, 3D printing, manufacturers also won't need to use the adhesives or joint connections that are now required for creating multimaterial products.

"You could be joining two very strong materials together, but their connection will only be as strong as their adhesive," said Bandyopadhyay. "Multimaterial, additive manufacturing helps get rid of the weak point."

The researchers, including graduate students Bryan Heer and Bonny Onuike, used a laser-based 3D printer to join the materials in a single step, printing out a nickel-chromium and copper structure.

Inconel 718 is a nickel-chromium alloy used in liquid-fueled rockets and for sheet metal parts for airplane engines. The material is able to withstand high temperatures well, but it cools very slowly. When the researchers added the copper in the 3D printing process, the part could be cooled 250 percent faster, meaning a longer life and higher fuel efficiency for airplane engines.

Increased design options

"Multimaterial additive manufacturing has opened the doors to so many different possible creations," said Bandyopadhyay. "It has allowed us to be bolder and be more creative."

Working with graduate students Tom Gualtieri and Yanning Zhang, the researchers also printed metal-ceramic material in one operation.

"This allows us to vary the composition and add functionality to a product during 3D printing that is traditionally very difficult to achieve," he said. "And we can do this in a single process with a single machine."
-end-
The research was funded by Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation, the National Science Foundation (grant CMMI 1538851), and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (research agreement number SC-2019.A031).

Washington State University

Related Additive Manufacturing Articles from Brightsurf:

Correct dosage of methane-inhibiting additive in dairy cow feed shown in study
The optimum amount of a methane-inhibiting supplement in dairy cattle feed has been determined by an international team of researchers, indicating that widespread use of the compound could be an affordable climate change-battling strategy, if farmers embrace it.

Cellulose for manufacturing advanced materials
The last decade has seen an increase in scientific publications and patents on cellulose, the most abundant natural polymer.

Common food additive causes adverse health effects in mice
A common food additive, recently banned in France but allowed in the US and many other countries, was found to significantly alter gut microbiota in mice, causing inflammation in the colon and changes in protein expression in the liver, according to research led by a University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientist.

Feed additive reduces enteric methane emissions in dairy cows
The enteric methane mitigation potential of 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) has been confirmed in previous studies.

Acetone plus light creates a green jet fuel additive
Take biomass-derived acetone -- common nail polish remover -- use light to upgrade it to higher-mass hydrocarbons, and, voila, you have a domestically generated product that can be blended with conventional jet fuel to fly while providing environmental benefits, creating domestic jobs, securing the nation's global leadership in bioenergy technologies, and improving U.S. energy security.

Mealworms safely consume toxic additive-containing plastic
Mealworms are not only able to eat various forms of plastic, as previous research has shown, they can consume potentially toxic plastic additives in Styrofoam with no ill effects, a new Stanford study shows.

Additive manufacturing and NI/TI metal bolster cooling technology
Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed a novel elastocaloric cooling material, comprised of a nickel (Ni)-titanium (Ti) alloy and sculpted using additive technology, that is highly efficient, eco-friendly and easily scaled-up for commercial use.

Study suggests French ban on food additive may be premature
Michigan State University and University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers are refuting an earlier French government-funded study that claims titanium dioxide, a common food additive used worldwide, causes digestive inflammation and lesions in rats.

Tiny supersonic jet injector accelerates nanoscale additive manufacturing
By energizing precursor molecules using a tiny, high-energy supersonic jet of inert gas, researchers have dramatically accelerated the fabrication of nanometer scale structures.

UI researchers validate optimum composites structure created with additive manufacturing
Creating objects out of polymers using additive manufacturing techniques is perfect for a prototype, but not for structural materials that require strength or stiffness.

Read More: Additive Manufacturing News and Additive Manufacturing Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.