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Nanotailoring photocrosslinkable epoxy resins with multi-walled carbon nanotubes for stereolithography layered manufacturing


Exploiting nanostructured materials’ characteristics and properties in stereolithography (SL) may open new markets for unique rapidly manufactured functional devices. Controlled amounts of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were successfully dispersed in SL epoxy-based resins and complex three-dimensional (3D) parts were successfully fabricated by means of a modified SL setup. The effect of the nanosized filler was evaluated by means of mechanical testing. Small concentrations of MWCNTs resulted in significant effects on the physical properties of the polymerized resin. A MWCNT concentration of 0.05% (w/v) increased the ultimate tensile stress and fracture stress an average of 17% and 37%, respectively. Increasing the MWCNT concentration to 0.5% (w/v) enhanced the integrity of the nanocomposite samples over much wider operating temperatures. Sample parts were characterized by scanning and transmission electron microscopy to measure the impact of this particular nanomaterial on the morphology of the nanocomposite samples and results showed affinity between the constituents and identified buckled nanotubes that illustrated strong interfacial bonding. These improved physical properties may provide opportunities for using nanocomposite SL resins in end-use applications. Varying types and concentrations of nanomaterials can be used to tailor existing SL resins for particular applications.

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This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridge to Doctorate Fellowship (JHS and KFS). The research presented here was performed at UTEP in the W.M. Keck Border Biomedical Manufacturing and Engineering Laboratory (W.M. Keck BBMEL) using equipment purchased through Grant # 11804 from the W.M. Keck Foundation. This material is based in part upon work supported by the Texas Advanced Research (Advanced Technology/Technology Development and Transfer) Program under Grant Number 003661-0020-2003. Support was also provided through the Mr. and Mrs. MacIntosh Murchison Chairs No. 1 and 2 (RBW and LEM, respectively).

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Correspondence to J. H. Sandoval.

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Sandoval, J.H., Soto, K.F., Murr, L.E. et al. Nanotailoring photocrosslinkable epoxy resins with multi-walled carbon nanotubes for stereolithography layered manufacturing. J Mater Sci 42, 156–165 (2007).

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  • Nanocomposite Sample
  • Ultimate Tensile Stress
  • Ultrasonic Dispersion
  • Rapid Prototype Technology
  • Strong Interfacial Bonding