Additive manufacturing (3-D printing) is presently limited by the mechanical properties of the materials, such as polymer resins, that are otherwise efficient and economical for part-forming. Reinforcing the resin with microscale fibers and/or particles would be an effective mechanism to achieve desired mechanical properties such as strength and ductility. Our work combines standing wave ultrasonics and microfluidics to align microparticles in devices that can act as print nozzles, based in part on our prior work with cell sorting. In this paper three different approaches are presented illustrating different engineering tradeoffs, and demonstrating laboratory results of particle alignment. First acoustic resonators are discussed, in which the ultrasonic standing waves result mostly from the mechanical properties of the microfluidic structure, excited by a piezoceramic transducer. Next non-resonant microfluidic structures are discussed, in which ultrasonic standing waves are produced directly by symmetrical transducer deployment. Finally, devices that combine nozzle-like structures, which themselves are suitable acoustic resonators, subjected to symmetrical ultrasonic excitation are presented. We will show that all three configurations will align microparticles, and discuss the tradeoffs among them for subsequent configuration of a print nozzle.
Molly A. Whittaker, Erin R. Dauson, Jaime Parra-Raad, Robert A. Heard, and Irving J. Oppenheim, "Ultrasonic alignment of microparticles in nozzle-like geometries ," Proc. SPIE 10596, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites XII, 105960X (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 07, 2018; Published: 22 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2296868.
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