M. Yourdkhani, C. Dojan, M. Ziaee
Colorado State University,
Keywords: composites, thermoset, continuous fiber, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, scalable, rapid
Summary:Composites are lightweight and strong materials that have replaced metals in many applications. However, these products are conventionally fabricated manually using molds followed by heat curing at elevated temperatures (~180 °C) for several hours, resulting in slow, costly, and energy-intensive manufacturing processes. We address these burdens by developing a novel additive manufacturing technique that can realize fast and energy-efficient fabrication of high-performance composites with minimal tooling. In our approach, we develop cure-on-demand resins that can be instantaneously cured and rigidized by a local thermal stimulus. Use of a robotic platform to feed resin and carbon fibers through a nozzle followed by localized heating enables fast, unprecedented printing of high-quality composites. This novel technique is of great interest to various industries such as aerospace, automotive, and energy sectors due to its potential for reducing composite manufacturing cost and time.