Investigating Dielectric Properties of Sintered Polymers for Rapid Manufacturing

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Thompson, Matthew J.
Whalley, David C.
Hopkinson, Neil

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Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) of polymers is the leading technology in the growing field of Rapid Manufacturing. High Speed Sintering (HSS) is a process that offers the potential to reduce costs and processing times and thus open significant new markets for Rapid Manufactured parts. Much academic research has been performed with respect to mechanical properties of Rapid Manufactured parts, however the area of electrical properties has received little attention to date. Electrical properties are obviously important in applications that will involve embedding of circuits with Rapid Manufactured 3D objects. However electrical properties are also important for a wide variety of electrical products where Rapid Manufactured parts can be used as housings etc. This paper focuses on the dielectric properties of parts made by SLS and HSS and compares properties with those for conventionally processed polymers. Dielectric strength results show that SLS parts are comparable with injection moulded parts, while HSS parts are inferior to SLS parts. Dielectric constant and dissipation factor results show that HSS parts are comparable with injection moulded parts, whilst SLS parts have superior properties. The presence of porosity (SLS and HSS) and the presence of carbon (HSS) are suggested as reasons behind the variation in dielectric properties when compared with injection moulded parts.


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