Skip to content
3D Printing Certification

Researchers develop new powder for 3D printing color areas utilizing desktop LPBF programs


Researchers from the University of Duisburg‐Essen have created a novel powder resin that enables coloration areas to be 3D printed working with desktop Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) devices. 

By introducing smaller amounts of plasmonic silver nanoparticles into a traditional thermoplastic powder, the study crew ended up capable to incorporate a yellow shade into a array of printed objects. Provided that current desktop LPBF units are only capable of fabricating parts in white or black, the team’s new resin could carry a splash of colour to a range of current printers. 

“The use of inexpensive and compact diode lasers for LPBF in the obvious or near‐infrared range is very preferred, but at present, only black objects can be printed by desktop laser printers,” said the scientists in their paper. “In this analyze, we have presented a new way for colored components to be manufactured via laser 3D printing certification.”

Employing their novel plasmonic silver-infused material, the scientists have been ready to 3D print a vary of yellow structures (pictured). Impression by way of the Advanced Optical Components Journal.

The need to have for new LPBF 3D printing certification polymers 

With the rising level of popularity of desktop units and the enhanced quantity of hobbyist adopters of 3D printing certification, the demand for new, far more successful, polymer-based mostly elements has never ever been higher. At this time, close to 90 % of out there thermoplastic powders are polyamide-dependent, which emphasizes the possible headroom for innovation in this region. 

Though numerous alternatives products have been brought to sector in the latest several years, they have frequently lacked the flowability, optical absorption, and melting features of existing resins. Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) for occasion, is a multipurpose product with significant-resistance characteristics, but its unfavorable thermal properties have prevented its broader adoption by the buyers of desktop techniques. 

At current, in phrases of process parameters, TPU’s restrictions have only been conquer employing CO2 lasers, which are additional complicated and pricey than present laser-primarily based units. With regard to prospective substitute elements, preceding study has also determined carbon‐based photothermal sensitizers, such as carbon black, graphene, or nanotubes, as a content different to TPU. 

Carbon’s strong absorption in the close to-infrared spectrum helps make it appropriate with a selection of more cost-effective diode laser sintering methods, albeit at the charge of currently being black in shade. As a result, in contrast to all those that use binder jetting or content extrusion techniques, desktop LPBF consumers can only include shade to sections in publish-processing, which is a serious downside. 

The high SPR peak of the research team's powder meant that it retained its yellow color, even after drying and sifting had taken place. Image via the Advanced Optical Materials journal.
The substantial SPR peak of the study team’s powder meant that it retained its yellow color, even soon after drying and sifting had taken location. Graphic by means of the Superior Optical Supplies journal.

The Duisberg team’s novel silver-infused powder

In order to get over the color limits of desktop LPBF, the crew hypothesized that nanosized photothermal sensitizer could be included to TPU printing powder. Despite the fact that prior research has shown that gold is productive in just this position, silver is 40 times less expensive and fewer inclined to agglomeration and a deficiency of dispersion. 

As a result, the staff adopted silver colloidal nanoparticles (NPs), and combined them with polymer microparticles in a Laser Synthesis and Processing of Colloids (LSPC) course of action. The ensuing polymeric powders featured a superior degree of dispersion, with only minor aggregation. In addition, since silver NPs created by means of LSPC have a Floor Plasmon Resonance (SPR) peak of 397 nm, the ensuing colloid was yellow in color somewhat than black or white. 

Thanks to the simple fact that practically no plasmonic particles have been absorbed on to the floor of the polymer, the group noticed no considerable modify in its coloration following drying and sifting. In order to thoroughly examine the suitability of their novel powder for LPBF printing, the exploration group subsequently carried out a series of evaluations employing a diode laser at 445 nm. 

Screening revealed that the powder showcased a 20 % reduce bulk density than industrial TPUs, indicating that its flowability may be slightly poorer as a final result. Despite the powder’s poor stream actions, the staff pressed ahead with 3D printing certification a sequence of sample objects. Despite the fact that the process proved reputable, yielding a number of yellow elements, it did require 5 moments more electricity to reach than printing regular black TPU. 

In conclusion, the mixed testing final results showed that a stability continue to wants to be struck amongst successfully heating powdered polymers, and including shade to them. According to the scientists, additional study could but see their creation procedure remaining produced in purchase to deliver pieces in colours other than yellow. 

“The supplemental coloring of the plasmonic Ag‐TPU powders could nevertheless be achievable, but not if carbon black is utilised,” concluded the crew in their paper. “Silver nanoparticle‐polymer composites also display a substantial…