Additive manufacturing (AM) is an emerging 3D printing technology that enables the design and rapid manufacturing of materials with complex microstructures. Advances in 3D printing have allowed manufacturing companies to expand from design and 3D printing of prototypes to the rapid manufacturing of end products. Additive manufacturing enables the manufacturing of components in a layer-by-layer fashion, opposite to common manufacturing methods that rely on machining, molding and subtractive methods to obtain the final product. AM employs a computer-aided design software that allows for the design of virtual objects and the control of the nozzle and/or stage of the 3D printer. Due to their versatility and wide range of mechanical and chemical properties, polymers are the most utilized materials for AM. Polymers used for AM covers thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers, polymers with incorporated fillers, biopolymers, and polymers blended with biological materials. The architectural design and choice of polymers can lead to materials with enhanced functionalities, mechanical properties, porosity, and stability. This chapter focuses on the development of polymer-based 3D printing materials with multifunctionalities used specifically for the production of biomedical devices, electronic devices, and aerospace-relevant products.
Part of the book: Functional Materials