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Data for 'Is ink heating a relevant concern in the High Speed Sintering process?'

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posted on 30.03.2021, 16:49 by Candice Majewski, Patrick Smith
High Speed Sintering (HSS) is a novel polymer additive manufacturing process which utilises inkjet printing of an infrared-absorbing pigment onto a heated polymer powder bed to create 2D cross-sections which can be selectively sintered using an infrared lamp. Understanding and improving the accuracy and repeatability of part manufacture by HSS are important, ongoing areas of research. In particular, the role of the ink is poorly understood; the inks typically used in HSS have not been optimised for it, and it is unknown whether they perform in a consistent manner in the process. Notably, the ambient temperature inside a HSS machine increases as a side effect of the sintering process, and the unintentional heating to which the ink is exposed is expected to cause changes in its fluid properties. However, neither the extent of ink heating during the HSS process nor the subsequent changes in its fluid properties have ever been investigated. Such investigation is important, since significant changes in ink properties at different temperatures would be expected to lead to inconsistent printing and subsequently variations in part accuracy and even the degree of sintering during a single build. For the first time, we have quantified the ink temperature rise caused by unintentional, ambient heating during the HSS process, and subsequently measured several of the ink’s fluid properties across the ink temperature range which is expected to be encountered in normal machine operation (25 to 45 ∘C). We observed only small changes in the ink’s density and surface tension due to this heating, but a significant drop (36%) in its viscosity was seen. By inspection of the ink’s Z number throughout printing, it is concluded that these changes would not be expected to change the manner in which droplets are delivered to the powder bed surface. In contrast, the viscosity decrease during printing is such that it is expected that the printed droplet sizes do change in a single build, which may indeed be a cause for concern with regard to the accuracy and repeatability of the inkjet printing used in HSS, and subsequently to the properties of the polymer parts obtained from the process.

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MAPP: EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hub in Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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Department of Mechanical Engineering

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