SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 26 February 2022
STP163720200117

Production of Fully Dense AM Materials by Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP)

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The selective thermoplastic electrophotographic process (STEP) is a new additive manufacturing technology for printing thermoplastics into numerous part geometries. STEP combines the specificity and accuracy of electrophotographic printing with the thermal processability of plastics produced commercially today (polymers derived from acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene, or ABS; nylon(s); thermoplastic polyurethane [TPU], etc.). The STEP technology utilizes micrometer-sized powder as a raw material to print dense three-dimensional (3D) thermoplastic parts using heat and pressure. The parts are printed layer by layer, by transfusing hundreds to thousands of two-dimensional layers comprised of charged polymer particles. The result of the printing process is a 3D build containing both a thermoplastic part and a pH-responsive polymeric support. The support is selectively removed from the build in a postprocessing step, and the final parts are isolated. The final 3D printed parts are characterized, and the density of the final parts is essentially equivalent to commercially injection-molded thermoplastics. Scanning electron microscopy analysis is utilized to diligently characterize the part surfaces and cross-sectional areas of the final thermoplastic parts.

Author Information

Mullen, Brian
Evolve Additive Solutions, Minnetonka, MN, US
Pickering, Jerry
Evolve Additive Solutions, Rochester, NY, US
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Details
Pages: 180–192
DOI: 10.1520/STP163720200117
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7722-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7721-5