In the last few years, 3-D printing market has been gaining immense popularity across diverse applications. The market is not only expanding, but has also become very affordable, thanks to the rising number of applications in diverse industries across the globe. However, the versatility is limited by the durability and strength of the printed parts. Most of the objects that have been printed are in layers, which resulted in weak spots at points where the layers meet. Hence, the 3-D printed objects are not that strong in comparison with the ones which are made with current methods that make use of plastics injected into molds.
In order to create strong 3-D printed parts, Bryan D. Vogt, Miko Cakmak, and colleagues are exploring if they can change the starting materials to self-reinforce the printed parts. For this, the researchers have made a structured, core-shell polymer filament in which the polycarbonate core acts as a rigid skeleton in order to reinforce and support the 3-D printed shape. An olefin ionomer shell that surrounds the polycarbonate core strengthens and improves the connection between the printed layers.
During the testing procedures, the printed parts with the filaments are expected to withstand impacts without cracks, unlike the other parts that are made without them. The new filaments are projected to bring 3-D printed parts closer to the strength of the parts that have been manufactured by the current methods. With the rising benefits of using 3-D printing, the global market is expected to witness high growth in the coming years. Technological advancements are likely to generate promising growth opportunities for the 3-D printing market.