The University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) is making news with its rapid prototyping capabilities. UDRI researchers and staff are using their rapid prototyping technology facility for several actively developing innovations, which, when combined, provide quite an array of improvements for advanced materials. For example, new age-resistant stereolithography material chemistries, now under development, are behaving more like injection-molded thermoplastics.
Related research, involving polymers containing nanomaterials, also tout improved mechanical properties when processed by selective laser sintering and other processes.
Because companies want more physically and functionally analogous behavior from prototype parts, and don’t necessarily have the rapid prototyping (RP) equipment available, new materials are being developed using advanced RP equipment at UDRI. RP allows researchers to build prototypes that have the size, shape, weight, and often other production-ready characteristics that companies are eager to test to their limits.
Such prototypes have only recently become available through the use of such tools as selective laser sintering and 3D rapid prototyping. UDRI has parlayed its capabilities from the original applications of RP, such as aerospace, biomedical implants/devices, and electronics to a much broader market within the polymer industry. And UDRI is building its capabilities in RP because many major manufacturers of machinery used for RP are amping up their newest equipment lines to accommodate numerous materials and a full range of colors without the need for post-processing. Many machines are emerging with multi-material capabilities that go beyond mixing merely two materials, but printing with multiple materials at the same time. Expected soon will be machines that print a product’s housing and all of the electrical connections in one pass-through.
UDRI operates the “world’s first” manufacturing center for product demonstration of nano-enhanced polymer composites. Created in collaboration with the National Composite Center in Dayton and the Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanocomposites and Devices (CMPND), based at The Ohio State University, manufacturers to “try out” nanotechnology for use in composite products, but without the major investment dollars and risk involved in purchasing new equipment and retooling their facilities.
UDRI has a 3-D printer that use acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, which is a much stronger/tougher material than the older stereo lithography material. They use the RP prototyping capability in combination with our low cost tooling technology to reduce the cost and time required to make low rate production parts via injection molding. UDRIresearchers also produce custom blends of nano-enhanced polymers for injection molding or for use with the Selective Laser Sintering® (SLS) process. UDRI also offers full support for materials development, characterization, process modeling and optimization, component design and testing.
UDRI/CMPND facilities provide manufacturers the opportunity to evaluate state-of-the-art materials without a lot of investment. Then, if they are satisfied with the results and decide these new nano-enhanced polymers make sense for their products, they can transition the technology to their companies.
Rapid prototypes and limited-quantity production runs are normally expensive endeavors, but can be done far more affordably at the UDRI/CMPND facility, which features a 10-foot autoclave, a 440-ton injection molding machine, a laser profiler, and other equipment.
UDRI staff can also help manufacturers drastically reduce the transition time of new materials to the marketplace, a process which normally can take years – or even decades. Companies can access the UDRI facility, its technologies, and other resources. UDRI is one of the global authorities on nanomaterials processing.
The University of Dayton Research Institute is the research arm of the University of Dayton, located in Dayton, Ohio. UDRI is a national leader in scientific and engineering research, serving government, industry, and not-for-profit customers. Its full-time professional staff of engineers and scientists conduct research and provide support in a wide variety of technical areas. works with its customers on many levels, ranging from short-term projects completed on an as-needed basis, through contractual partnering or teaming relationships, to working side-by-side with our customers in multi-million dollar long-term contracts.
The Center for Multifunctional Polymeric Nanomaterials and Devices (CMPND) is a research and commercialization partnership in polymer nanotechnology. This multi-institutional, interdisciplinary organization, centered at The Ohio State University, partners with the University of Dayton, the University of Akron, the University of Toledo, Kent State University, and Wright State University. For more information, cmpnd.org