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3D Printing of High-Performance Nanocomposite for Industrial Applications

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Conference Abstract: Advancements in polymer additive manufacturing have improved the feasibility of its use in end use applications and not limited to form fit and functional prototype. To further improve the utilization of melt extrusion-based polymer additive manufacturing in more demanding applications like Aerospace, Electric Vehicles, Electrical components etc., it is critical to design high performance materials. Polymer nanocomposites with engineering and high temperature polymers, having high tensile strength, good fatigue properties and tailored electrical and thermal conductivities to meet the application requirements. These high-performance materials coupled with advancements in slicing software and printer hardware (heated build chamber, IR heated nozzles, multi-axis printing), would allow to print parts with enhanced properties that can compete with injection molded parts.
In this paper we will discuss the development of PEKK and PEI based nanocomposites designed to replace metallic components leading to reduced costs, lower weight and reduced lead time. We will describe the development and optimization of an FGF process to produce large scale (6ft) and airtight aerospace structures made with electrically conducting PEKK nanocomposite. These PEKK composite ducts are designed to replace aluminum duct in commercial and military aircraft. The second topic is development of thermally conductive PEI to print compression molding molds to replace metallic mold for low volume vintage parts and functional prototypes during new product development. The third application is the use of PEI based thermally conductive polymers used to print lightweight luminaire for retrofit application.