In efforts to resolve the issue of joining multiple materials when producing objects, a research team are exploring a possible solution with a new one-step multimaterial printing method.
Their recently discovered process is a response to the current issue posed when attempting to form adhesive points between two different materials when creating 3D prints. One-step multimaterial printing could potentially also help in increasing the overall utility of additive manufacturing. Creating singular parts with different physical properties is one way to help replace a more complex form of assembly.
Discovery of the Multimaterial Printing Process
The team working on testing the multimaterial printing process comprises of several University researchers from Washington State University. Lead by Amit Bandyopadhyay, Herman and Brita Lindholm Chair Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, the team were able to harness 3D printing technology. With the technology, they printed both metal and ceramic structures alongside a bimetallic tube. The tube was magnetic in one end and non-magnetic in the other. The team then completed the process by using a laser-based 3D printer. This resulted in a joining of both copper and nickel-chromium materials.
How the Process Works
An explanation of the process features in an article by Washington State University. Inside, they explain how the materials fuse together and where this may become beneficial in the future.
“Inconel 719 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 that could be cooled 250 percent faster, meaning a longer life and higher fuel efficiency for airplane engines.”
Amit Bandyopadhyay, leader of the research team, adds how the process could eliminate adhesives or shaped joint connections being put into use to create products with multimaterial properties.
“You could be joining two very strong materials together, but their connection will only be as strong as their adhesive. Multimaterial, additive manufacturing helps get rid of the weak point.”
Washington State University – Researchers develop one-step, 3D printing for multimaterial projects