Nanocomposite ink using carbon nanotubes certainly pushes the boundaries of the industry. In this regard, the materials presented in this work are of great interest. I will cite the most interesting points from an article presented by  Michigan  Technological University.

Mechanical engineering researchers at Michigan Technological University have created a way to make nanocomposite polymer inks for 3D printing that use carbon nanotubes (CNTs), known for their high tensile strength and lightness. This revolutionary ink can replace epoxies, and understanding why their properties are so fantastic is the first step to mainstream use.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is more versatile and efficient than casting. It adds material with high precision, often complex geometries, with significantly less excess material that needs to be cut off. The addition of low-dimensional nanomaterials such as CNTs, graphene, metal nanoparticles, and quantum dots allows printed materials on a 3D printer to adapt to external influences, giving them properties such as electrical and thermal conductivity, magnetism, and electrochemical storage.

The exploration of the process, morphology, and properties of polymeric inks is the subject of an article recently published in the journal Additive Manufacturing by Parisa Pour Shahid Saeed Abadi, an engineer who explores the interface of materials, mechanics, and medicine, and graduate student Masoud Kasraie («Additive manufacturing of conductive and high-strength epoxy-nano clay-carbon nanotube composites»).

Abadi and Kasraie point out that before researchers can sprint off to the races using polymeric inks, they must first learn to walk. The first step is digging into the intersection of the macro scale (how our eyes see a material performing) and the nanoscale (what we can’t see, but know is occurring).

Abadi noted, that While polymer nanocomposites and 3D-printing products and services both have billion-dollar market values, nanomaterial 3D printing only has a market value of approximately $43 million.

For national prosperity and sustaining global leadership in manufacturing, the gap between the real-world applications of 3D printing and nanomaterials versus nanomaterial 3D printing needs to be closed,” Abadi said. “The gap exists due to lack of control of nanocomposite properties in the 3D-printing process  because we don’t fully understand the process-morphology-property relationship.”

The authors note many benefits of nanomaterial ink. They say that Moving beyond the science of nanocomposite ink, the material holds great promise because of its many functionalities. One advantage of 3D printing is near-complete control over the final product’s shape.

Source:  Michigan Technological University


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