3D Printing of Multi-Functional Structures

eric macdonald

by Eric MacDonald, Youngstown State University

3D printing has generally been relegated to fabricating conceptual models and prototypes; however, increasingly, research is now focusing on fabricating functional end-use products.

As patents for 3D printing expire, new low cost desktop systems are being adopted more widely and this trend is leading to products being fabricated locally. However, currently the technology is limited in the number of materials used in fabrication and consequently is confined to fabricating simple static structures.

For additively manufactured products to be economically meaningful, additional functionalities are required to be incorporated in terms of electronic, electromechanical, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, chemical and optical content.

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