In a conventional dispensing or printing nozzle, the distribution of a multiphase material (solid particles/cells suspended in liquid) is random. Thus, there is a limitation of additive manufacturing (AM) to precisely locate or focus micro-particles/cells in the printing structure. Focusing micro-particles in the 3D printed structure could potentially improve the load distribution, mechanical performance and functionality of the end product.
By using this acoustic nozzle, various micro-particles/cells distributions could be patterned in the nozzle prior to and subsequently in the printing structures. The use of acoustic excitation also suppresses clogging of the nozzle and improves the consistency of particulate discharge over time.
Potential applications for this technology, but not limited to, are as follows:
- This acoustic nozzle could be applied to multiphase material using nozzle-based AM
- For bioprinting, accumulation of biological cells in 3D construct provides better cell proliferation and differentiation
- For circuit printing, accumulation of conductive particles also results in a greater electrical performance for 3D printed electronic parts
Market Trends and Opportunities
The additive manufacturing market in the Asia Pacific region is stated to grow at a CAGR of 19% from 2015 to 2025, reaching $5.5 bn. The aerospace, medical, and automotive industries would account up to 50% of the additive manufacturing market by 2025. Printing in the consumer electronics sector alone is expected to account for up to 28%.
- Controllable and customizable patterning of micro-particles/cells in the 3D printed construct through the switching of excitation frequency
- Improvement in the consistency of particulate discharge
- Reduces nozzle cleaning through the suppression of nozzle clogging
- Versatility – this acoustic nozzle could be applied to wide range of multiphase materials
- Easy installation and operation of the acoustic nozzle