Additive Manufactruing of Thermally Curable Thermoset Composites

M. Yourdkhani, C. Dojan, M. Ziaee
Colorado State University,
United States

Keywords: composites, thermoset, continuous fiber, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, scalable, rapid


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.