Researchers improve the strength of printed plastics, according to a study conducted on October 24, 2018.
3-D printed parts are very commonly used these days. It finds applications in robots that can build homes, marathoners’ running shoes, NASA’s upcoming spacecraft, and various others. 3-D printing market continues to grow, however, the strength of printed objects are not as expected. This study and observations made through this study is a solution to the aforementioned problem. Researchers have modified the method of manufacturing of starting materials to improve the toughness of the plastics that are printed.
Since 3-D printing is affordable, it can be used in various applications. As these objects are printed in layers, the point where the layers meet are forming weak spots. Therefore, 3-D printed objects are not as strong as those made with current methods in which plastics are injected into molds. To create stronger 3-D printed parts, researchers started exploring about making changes to the starting materials to self-reinforce the printed parts.
The researchers made a structured, core-shell polymer filament, where a polycarbonate core acts as a stiff skeleton that provide support and reinforce the 3-D printed shape. The connection between the printed layers is improved and strengthened by an olefin ionomer shell around the polycarbonate core. When researchers carried out tests, the printed parts with the filaments were able to withstand impacts without causing any cracking or damage when compared to the parts that were made without the filament. The new filaments bring 3-D printed parts closer to the strength of parts manufactured by current methods.