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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Samantha Buczek

Comparative Framework for Binder Formulations Used for Inkjet Metal Printing

Department: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Advisor: Ashley Cramer

Additive manufacturing technologies have the ability to revolutionize traditional manufacturing methods, especially with regards to metal and ceramic production. Additive manufacturing techniques lend to greater design flexibility, decreased waste, faster turnaround time for customized parts, and a reduced need for skilled users. Lafayette College’s Additive Manufacturing Institute (AMI) utilizes an ExOne R-1 inkjet 3D metal printer for development.

The inkjet process uses a binder to glue metal particles together during the print process, which is important as the binder dictates different properties of the printed part, such as feature resolution and green state strength. The binder formulation can be tuned to adjust these properties, however it is important to understand the impact it will have on its ability to be printed. The inverse Ohnesorge number (Z) relates thermophysical properties to ink jettability. We investigated the relationship between polymer concentration (Cp) in a binder and its thermophysical properties, ultimately seeking the impact on binder jettability. An increase in polymer concentration led to a reduction in the Z value; at an approximate polymer concentration of 5 wt% the binder formulation is below the limit of the jettable range.

About Samantha Buczek:
Samantha is a junior at Lafayette College pursuing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. During the summer of 2015, she worked under the supervision of Professor Ashley Cramer and Professor James Ferri to investigate the material properties of the binder used in inkjet metal 3D printing and how those properties may vary by altering its formulation. Samantha also enjoys her position as a lab assistant for an Engineering Studies course, where first-year students gain an understanding of additive manufacturing technologies through the creation of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic devices. She hopes to continue developing her passion for material science in grad school after she graduates in May 2017.