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Communications of the ACM

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Purdue Researchers Devise 3D Printer That Can Make Energetic Materials Safer

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Doctoral candidate Monique McClain demonstrates the three-dimensional printing of extremely viscous materials.

Researchers at Purdue University have devised a method of three-dimensional printing that can produce energetic materials with fine geometric features faster and more economically than traditional methods.

Credit: Purdue University Research Foundation News

Purdue University researchers have developed a safer, more environmentally friendly three-dimensional (3D) printing technique that fabricates energetic materials, like solid rocket fuels and pyrotechnics, with fine geometric features faster and at less cost than traditional methods.

The printer can generate viscous materials with clay-like consistency without voids.

Unlike typical 3D printers, the new technique applies high-amplitude ultrasonic vibrations to the print nozzle, reducing friction on nozzle walls and allowing materials to be pushed through with precise flow control.

Purdue's Jeffrey Rhoads said the printer improves over traditional energetic production methods by not relying on solvents to lower viscosity, thus accelerating production, reducing costs, and enabling a more environmentally sustainable process. The ability to operate the printer remotely also helps address safety issues.

From Purdue University Research Foundation News
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