Functionalized Composites for 3D-Printing and Additive Manufacturing Applications
Brubaker, Cole Dylan
With the ability to shorten production times, while simultaneously minimizing material waste, additive manufacturing technologies and techniques, including 3D printing, have emerged with the potential to revolutionize the way various materials are produced, utilized and repaired across a growing number of fields and applications. The relative ease and speed at which new parts and prototypes with complicated geometries can be designed and fabricated has driven the need, and continued demand, for 3D printing. In fact, many industry experts have dubbed additive manufacturing and 3D printing related technologies as the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 – due to its highly disruptive nature in the manufacturing sector. Building upon the recent progress in 3D-printed material systems, the focus of this dissertation revolves around the design, development, characterization, inspection, and implementation of optically enhanced composites through the use of various nano- and micron-scale additives. Specifically, I explore the incorporation of cadmium-based quantum dots, gold nanoparticles, and zinc-based phosphor materials within a polylactic acid (PLA) polymer host matrix to evaluate their compatibility with additive manufacturing applications. Various materials characterizations are performed to study the impact of filament functionalization on the selected additive and polymer host matrix following printing. Additionally, relevant applications and potential end uses for the three material systems are developed, including passive and active devices, to demonstrate the versatility of this approach for designing and developing functionalized materials for additive manufacturing and 3D printing related applications.