- R&D 100 Awards
Current additive manufacturing processes are typically quite slow, and the materials available for commercial thermoplastic printing are relatively limited. Because thermoplastic materials are printed hot and then cool followed by cycles of heating and cooling as subsequent layers are applied, thermoplastic printed parts develop internal stresses. These stresses can cause parts to warp or be weak in some areas. Ambient Reactive Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (ARE AM) is based on reactive polymer feedstocks that are liquid at room temperature until mixed and deposited by the print head. The feed materials are designed to quickly react upon deposition to form a crosslinked-polymer network, both in the plane of the printing as well as in the direction of the build (the z-direction). The printed material heats as it reacts and cures across layers, significantly reducing the internal stresses and limiting warping. The result is a new AM process with much faster deposition speeds, much stronger printed parts, and much greater dimensional stability than currently possible in traditional thermoplastic AM. These benefits of ARE AM enable new manufacturing designs and opens possibilities for a range of applications.
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