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STEP UP IN POLYMER BASED RM PROCESSES (STEPUP)
Start date: 01 Jan 2009, End date: 31 Dec 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

An innovative mechano-chemical approach (based on the high energy ball milling) will be used for the development of innovative nanopolymers to be used in Rapid Manufacturing (RM) based on Selective Laser Sintering (SLS),by: 1.Structural modification (up nanopolymers stage) using a currently widely used polymer like Polyammide PA (a “nanoPA” will be produced); 2.Alloying (at nanoscale) with different polymers to tune mechanical properties; 3.Nanocharging of polymers (development of nanocomposites). Moving from this background, the project will make a real, LARGE, step up in polymers and composites properties by including nano features into the base materials and the final products. The final products will benefit from radically extended performances (i.e. operating temperatures, increased strength). In this way it will be possible, using existing prototyping machines, to realize freeform manufacturing technologies for the direct automated and customised production of parts and products from small to medium size batches for a wide range of possible applications (from vehicle applications to biomedical devices). The following are the project S/T objectives of SLS materials and parts produced using the modified PA -New nanostructured materials based on Poliammides (PA) -Agglomerated (scale of 20-50 micron) nanophased (scale of 10-20 nm) particles suited for RM via SLS -Properties improvements in materials and RM/SLS parts properties (referred to conventional PA) of more than 200%. -Parts having improved properties and wider application window for automotive sector, consumer goods and medical instrumentation. For these reasons STEPUP responds quite well to the call topics by: introducing new concepts for the micro/nano fabrication (usage of nanoplymers); enabling transition of RM to customised solutions integrating materials design and simulations.
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