3D Printing and Recycling of Smart Composites

Alexander Olson, “3D Printing and Recycling of Smart Composites”
Mentors: Chiu Law & Rani Elhajjar, Mechanical Engineering

Terfenol-D, like other magnetostrictive materials, will strain when a magnetic field is applied to it; however, Terfenol-D has an advantage over other magnetostrictive materials due to its large magnetostrictive response and low applied magnetic field. As a result, it is the most promising magnetostrictive material for engineering but has had little advancement in the way of composite manufacturing. The aim of this project is to integrate Terfenol-D into acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) to form a composite which would then be extruded as a filament approximately 2mm thick. Various ratios of ABS pellets to Terfenol-D powder are used to construct these composite filaments and the effects of each ratio is studied. The filament created is used in 3D printers to manufacture parts or tools exhibiting magnetostrictive properties. As the composite material is extruded to form parts, the Terfenol-D particles must be aligned using permanent magnets. When parts or tools made from the composite are no longer needed, they can be broken down or shredded into small pieces to be re-extruded into filament. Recycling the composite will cause some loss of material integrity. The number of times an amount of filament can be extruded, recycled, and re-extruded before complete loss of structural integrity is an area of focus in this project. The composite will undergo tensile tests, compression tests, visual inspections, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to test for impurities that accumulate upon levels of recycling. An acceptable number of recycle loops will be determined using the data retrieved. The reach of this research is space travel, where 3D printing is the most efficient method of manufacturing. A 3D printable, recyclable composite like this will aid in reducing waste, reducing overall weight of the spacecraft, and will encourage research on the use of Terfenol-D in space exploration.

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