Selective Laser Sintering Of Biocomposite Materials
R. Velu, A. Fernyhough, D.A. Smith, M. Joo Le Guen and S. Singamneni
Selective laser sintering (SLS) is based on localised heating of powdered materials using a laser of a suitable wavelength. It is capable of producing quality end-use parts direct form computer-aided design (CAD) files, without the need for any further intermediate processing or complex tooling. Material consolidation is through solid state sintering, without long range flow or transport of liquid phases. The fusion behaviour of the powder material during SLS affects the morphology, dimensional accuracy and properties of the part. As a result, the range of materials commercially used for SLS is limited, in spite of numerous advantages. There is a growing research interest as several polymer material alternatives are being investigated including polymers, Nano-polymer composites, metal polymer composites, etc. The current research looks at biocomposite materials as possible options for SLS. While reviewing the current research and the future trends, the paper also presents results of experiments conducted with specific biopolymer composites, including wood-polymer and ceramic-polymer combinations. Evaluation of micrographs reveal promising results and plausible rheological changes with varying process conditions and compositions.
Keywords: CO2 laser, polymide, poly-methyl methacrylate (PMMA), selective laser sintering (SLS), biocomposite materials, laser parameters