DITF & Arburg in Germany partner for developing efficient 3D printing process for bio-based fiber composites

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German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research (DITF), together with Arburg GmbH + Co KG, are developing an energy- and material-efficient 3D printing process for manufacturing of lightweight bio-based fiber composites.

In fiber composites, which occur naturally, reinforcing fibers such as collagen or cellulose fibrils are embedded in a matrix of lignin, hemicellulose or collagen. The fiber strands align with the stress patterns. Tissues are formed mostly via solution-based physio-chemical processes that take place at ambient temperature. Similar to nature, new 3D printing processes with continuous fiber reinforcement also allow the deposition of fiber strands in the right place (topology optimization) and in the appropriate direction in accordance to the load. However, natural fibers such as cellulose fibers are sensitive to higher temperatures. Therefore, they cannot be processed in the commonly employed thermoplastic 3D printing process.

The result of the research work is 3D-printed fiber composite components consisting of cellulose continuous fibers embedded in a cellulose-based matrix. Newly developed 3D-printing process enables to manufacture the composites at ambient temperature. This means that – as in nature – the material and component can be produced simultaneously in a single operation at ambient temperature.

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AM Chronicle Editor