Case ID: M22-154P

Published: 2022-12-21 11:06:06

Last Updated: 1677136493


Dharneedar Ravichandran
Weiheng Xu
Mounika Kakarla
Sayli Jambhulkar
Yuxiang Zhu
Kenan Song

Technology categories

Manufacturing/Construction/MechanicalPhysical Science

Technology keywords

Additive Manufacturing

Licensing Contacts

Physical Sciences Team

Multiphase Direct Ink Writing for 3D Printing

­Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is a manufacturing technique that builds layer-by-layer materials.  3D printing has advantages over traditional manufacturing with respect to rapid prototyping, complicated design, and material sustainability.  Commonly used 3D printing mechanisms include vat-polymerization, material jetting, material extrusion, and powder-based-fusion.  A bottleneck in 3D printing (e.g., in 3D printing polymer/nanoparticle composites) is the lack of high-precision control, especially without sacrificing manufacturing rates.  

Direct ink writing (DIW) is an example of material extrusion 3D printing.  A weakness of DIW is fragile and weak resultant structures, limiting its primary applications to materials that do not require high stiffness.  A DIW 3D printing method is needed that considers manufacturing precision control, manufacturing rates, and mechanical properties of printed materials.

Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a 3D printing method, multiphase direct ink writing (MDIW), that is capable of printing multilayered and multiphased composite structures.  The layered structures are achieved by two co-extruding immiscible feedstocks with similar viscosities through a printhead to form continuous ink deposited structures fabricated along a plane transverse to the flow direction of feedstock extrusion.  This method showed one-step processing with a printing speed up to 1200 mm/min and a high precision control down to unit microns.  The most refined printing features are two orders of magnitude higher than many ink- or gel-based 3D printing methods.   

Related publication: Multiphase direct ink writing (MDIW) for multilayered polymer/nanoparticle composites

Potential Applications:

  • 3D printing of layered structures, such as the following:
    • thin-ply laminates
    • thermally insulated or fire-retardant materials
    • microelectronics
    • solar arrays and antennas
    • optically reflective materials
    • biomedical scaffolds
    • packaging with gas barriers
    • stretchable packaging
    • smart and intelligent systems
    • untethered miniature soft robotics

Benefits and Advantages:

  • Printing speeds of ~1200 mm/min
  • Improved manufacturing precision of fine features with printing feature size as small as ~ 4 µm
  • Production of 3D printed materials with versatile structures and better mechanics (e.g., modulus, strength, and energy absorption)
  • Compatible with a broad range of inks in the form of natural and synthetic polymers and biopolymers
  • High potential in surface patterning, layered laminates, circular scaffolds, and other functionally graded structures