Recently, the United States Air Force Research Laboratory, in collaboration with NASA’s Glenn Research Center and the University of Louisville, has developed a method for 3D printing high-temperature polymers. Researchers have used high temperature thermosetting resin impregnated with carbon fiber filaments and selected laser sintered laser pointer processes to successfully print high temperature resistant polymer-based composite parts that can withstand temperatures above 300 ° C. They are expected to be used around turbine engine spares or engine exhaust High temperature area.
Because of the lightweight characteristics and the ability to withstand high temperature environments of polymer-based composites, it can help increase the range of the aircraft, while reducing fuel consumption and operating costs, so it has great appeal for the Air Force’s next-generation equipment applications. This disruptive discovery has laid the foundation for meeting the Air Force’s next-generation, cost-effective manufacturing needs.
Generally, polymer-based composites are made by embedding fibers (such as glass fibers) in epoxy or other matrix materials. Embedded fibers reinforce the matrix and make the material stronger. In the process of polymer 3D printing using a laser sintering process, a high-temperature laser is passed through the polymer powder bed to form a shape pre-designed by a computer. A new powder layer is then formed using the laser pointer energy. This process is repeated several times until the three-dimensional part is completed.