Faculty Sponsor's Department:
Additive manufacturing of polymer components enables rapid fabrication of complex geometries previously not obtainable through traditional manufacturing approaches. These printed parts have the desired form but are limited by the lack of mechanical performance required for engineering applications, this deficiency results in part from the lack of control of the microstructure during manufacturing. Increased control would not only enhance the mechanical performance but also lead to the creation of multifunctional composite materials with engineered properties not present in the bulk material. Direct material deposition via acoustic focusing offers a promising platform for achieving this control through the use of acoustic forces to arrange the spatial position of particles within a resin matrix. In this work we use acoustic focusing to create two-phase composites consisting of a UV-curable resin (Autodesk PR48) with focused conductive glass spheres. For this method, a key component is to fabricate an “ink” capable to hold form after printing but still be focusable. The efficacy of an ink formulation printed with in situ solidification using UV light (405nm) is demonstrated. The extensibility of this method is also demonstrated by printing three dimensional structures by multi-layered printing of focused particles. As a result, this platform for acoustic focusing of microparticles offers significant promise to print engineered multifunctional two-phase composites.