Virginia Tech® home

Direct Ink Write of Highly Loaded Systems

A figure consisting of one image. The custom built, Direct Ink Write print head is shown. This machine has two material barrels and a UV attachment for UV-assisted Direct Ink Write.

Project Overview

Direct Ink Write (DIW) of highly loaded systems offers unique challenges due to the rheological effects of fillers at these concentrations. In the DREAMS Lab we connect rheological experiments to printing of these materials in a custom built DIW machine. Both parallel plate and capillary rheometry are utilized to understand the behavior of our materials throughout the entire printing process. We also have the unique capability of a UV-assisted rheometer, which helps us understand printing in UV-assisted DIW. These results are leveraged to help us understand material printability and optimize process parameters for printing.

The custom built DIW printer uses a Preeflow Eco-DUO 330 dual component extruder that helps enable the printing of novel chemistries. Specifically, the printer is capable of printing dual component materials that begin curing when mixed such as epoxies and other thermosetting materials.  The Preeflow dual-component is screw-based, which enables it to apply the high pressures required for extrusion of highly loaded, and often highly viscous, inks. The printer is equipped with a UV light source for UV-assisted DIW.

Research Lead

Jack Bryant, Danny Rau