Projection Stereolithography of Nanocomposite Photopolymers
The limited material selection within additive manufacturing institutes design constraints on an otherwise liberating technology. By creating new materials with engineered properties, these material constraints of additive manufacturing can be reduced to further increase design freedom. One way to create new materials is by functionalizing nanoparticles, such has quantum dots and carbon nanotubes, in commercially available materials to modify material properties such as the curing characteristics, electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, luminescent properties, and part strength.
A constrained surface projection stereolithography machine was developed within the DREAMS Lab to test the photocuring properties of nanocomposite photopolymer resins, focusing specifically on the critical exposure and depth of penetration. This data is used to optimize the projection stereolithography system to tune its performance for newly developed nanocomposite photopolymers and optimize the vertical build rate and feature resolution of the process. Fabricated parts may then be tested to determine the effects of embedded nanoparticles on part strength, conductivity, and luminescent properties.