3D Printing of Metallic Microlattices

3D Printing, functional material, i3DP, Microlattice -

3D Printing of Metallic Microlattices

Metallic microlattices are a fascinating new class of materials that combine the mechanical properties of metals with smart geometric orientations. They are composed of a network of interconnecting hollow metal struts that deliver greater stiffness, strength-to-weight ratio and energy absorption than all other types of materials.  These ultralight structural materials are characterized by their low densities less than 10 milligrams per cubic centimeter.

 3D printed microlattice3D printed ultralight microlattice supported on flower

Potential applications for metallic microslattices include; thermal insulators, shock absorbers, battery electrodes and catalyst supports.  This technology has many possible uses within the automotive and aerospace industries. Additionally, the microlattices' ability to return to their original state after being compressed may make them suitable for use in spring-like energy storage devices.

One strategy for creating metal microlattice materials is to integrate 3D printing technology with controllable and effective surface metallization processes. This recent study demonstrates an effective method for the creation of ultralight metallic structures based on Formi’s initiator-integrated 3D printing technology (i3DP). The process comprises of the following steps; (a) 3D printing a polymer scaffold, (b) surface modification (c) applying a thin metallic coating and (d) subsequent removal of the sacrificial polymer core.

 The resultant materials have an ultralight density as low as 5.1 mg cm−3 and are capable of maintaining a high energy-absorbing efficiency, recovering their original shape after a compression strain up to 50%.Compression and recovery of i3DP metal microlattice

The whole article can be found here: Development of ultralight, super-elastic, hierarchical metallic meta-structures with i3DP technology http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6528/aa8a3b/meta

Formi’s i3DP 3D printing technology is an effective approach to creating ultralight, metallic microlattices. This fabrication method opens up new possibilities in material design by integrating the advantages of 3D printing with the benefits of surface modification to control the fine structures.

Contact us today to learn more about our i3DP services.