Manufacturing and Application of PA11-Glass Fiber Composite Particles for Selective Laser Sintering

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Dechet, Maximilian A.
Lanzl, Lydia
Werner, Yannick
Drummer, Dietmar
Bück, Andreas
Peukert, Wolfgang
Schmidt, Jochen

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University of Texas at Austin


Selective laser sintering (SLS), a powder-based additive manufacturing technology, employs micronsized polymer particles, which are selectively fused by a laser. SLS yields excellent part qualities with good mechanical properties. However, a persistent challenge in this layer-by-layer process is a reduction of mechanical properties in the z-direction. This is often caused by insufficient layer adhesion. One way to strengthen the layer adhesion in z-direction is the incorporation of glass fibers, which exceed from one layer into another. However, most commercially available glass-fiber enhanced materials are dry blends of the polymer powders and the fibers. In order to enhance the isotropic mechanical properties of parts manufactured via selective laser sintering, the manufacturing of glass fiber-filled PA11 particles is shown in this contribution. We present a single-pot approach to produce glass fiber-filled polyamide 11 (PA11) composite particles. The particles are manufactured via liquid-liquid phase separation and precipitation [1] (also known as solution-dissolution process) from ethanol glass fiber dispersions. Bulk polymer material of PA11 is directly converted to composite microparticles in a single process. The produced particles are characterized regarding their size and morphology. The amount of glass fibers in the bulk is assessed via thermogravimetric analysis and the effect of the fibers on the processing window is investigated via differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). As a proof of concept, the powder is employed in the SLS process to produce glass fiber-enhanced test specimens for mechanical testing.


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