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Nat Commun. 2015 Oct 23;6:8643. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9643.

Multimaterial magnetically assisted 3D printing of composite materials.

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1
Complex Materials, Department of Materials, ETH Zürich, Zürich 8093, Switzerland.

Abstract

3D printing has become commonplace for the manufacturing of objects with unusual geometries. Recent developments that enabled printing of multiple materials indicate that the technology can potentially offer a much wider design space beyond unusual shaping. Here we show that a new dimension in this design space can be exploited through the control of the orientation of anisotropic particles used as building blocks during a direct ink-writing process. Particle orientation control is demonstrated by applying low magnetic fields on deposited inks pre-loaded with magnetized stiff platelets. Multimaterial dispensers and a two-component mixing unit provide additional control over the local composition of the printed material. The five-dimensional design space covered by the proposed multimaterial magnetically assisted 3D printing platform (MM-3D printing) opens the way towards the manufacturing of functional heterogeneous materials with exquisite microstructural features thus far only accessible by biological materials grown in nature.

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