Voxel-based additive manufacturing of biomimetic multiscale anisotropic materials

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Polymer composites are found to have high performance efficiency because of its highly flexible polymer matrix and stiff fibres or functional fillers. The matrix and the reinforcements are two main components for a strong and tough composite. The performance of these composites highly depend on the material property of the matrix and the reinforcement, volume fraction of the fibre and the matrix ,and the geometry and the orientation of the matrix and the reinforcements. Here material selected for the composites are polymers and the volume fraction is kept constant. Playing with the geometry and the orientation of the matrix and reinforcements will help in improving the mechanical behaviour of the composite. With nature providing intrinsic designs after undergoing various environmental stresses and strains, like in bone, nacre, wood etc, to achieve high strength and toughness, these designs can be taken as bio-inspiration for the structural modifications in the matrix and reinforcements. Analysis of these nature’s designs brings us to common design motifs like hierarchy, structural anisotropy and functional gradients. In this research, polymer composites have been designed for improved performance by adapting various design motifs in the matrix and reinforcements. These geometrical variations being done in the micro-scale, the composites are manufactured using Object350 Connex3 polyjet 3D printing technique for higher design accuracy. This is a voxel based 3D printing technique which uses a strategic placement of different materials with high accuracy using polyjet technology.