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Jetting of Polyamide 6: Interview of a Loughborough University Researcher

SpecialChem / Mar 16, 2011

Muhammad Fahad has carried out his PhD work at the Loughborough University on a new polymeric support material for jetting based additive manufacturing technologies. Both Professor Marianne Gilbert from the Materials Department of the Loughborough University and Professor Phil Dickens supervise his research. Professor Phil Dickens is the principal investigator of a 3 years project titled "Jetting of Caprolactam", caprolactam being the precursor of polyamide 6. Prior to this PhD work, Mr. Fahad graduated in 2004 from NED University of Engineering and Technology (Pakistan) in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. He was awarded a scholarship by NED University to pursue MSc in September 2005 and further, a PhD in April 2008 at Loughborough University.

Before going more into the details of Mr. Fahad's work and results, it is important to remember what "additive manufacturing technology" means. There are already several distinct technologies commercially available to make parts out of polymers with the additive manufacturing method, which consists of building a 3D part through a step-by-step material adding process. Techniques usually involve a layer-by-layer process, where a new thin layer of polymer is added to the previous one. After a certain number of layers a full 3D part is made. Each layer is modeled from cross-section of the 3D part to be manufactured. Unsurprisingly the oldest additive manufacturing technology is called "layered object manufacturing". These techniques do not require any molding tools, and almost any shape can be made from 3D model data. In fact additive manufacturing technologies allow for more complex 3D shapes than traditional manufacturing techniques. The additive manufacturing technologies are still new technologies although they were introduced in the mid-eighties. Thus many improvements are still to be done, like improving material performance, increasing the range of materials designed for these techniques and...

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