Microwave induced welding of carbon nanotube-thermoplastic interfaces for enhanced mechanical strength of 3D printed parts

Charles B. Sweeney, Micah J. Green, Mohammad A. Saed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional (3D) printed parts produced by fused-filament fabrication of a thermoplastic polymer have become increasingly popular at both the commercial and consumer level. The mechanical integrity of these rapid-prototyped parts however, is severely limited by the interfillament bond strength between adjacent extruded layers. In this report we propose for the first time a method for welding thermoplastic interfaces of 3D printed parts using the extreme heating response of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to microwave energy. To achieve this, we developed a coaxial printer filament with a pure polylactide (PLA) core and a CNT composite sheath. This produces parts with a thin electrically percolating network of CNTs at the interfaces between adjacent extruded layers. These interfaces are then welded together upon microwave irradiation at 2.45GHz. We investigated the dielectric properties of the PLA/CNT composites at microwave frequencies and performed in-situ microwave thermometry using a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera to characterize the heating response of the PLA/CNT composites upon microwave irradiation. Finally, computational models were developed to verify the microwave heating response of the percolating CNT composites according to their measured dielectric properties.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSAMPE Baltimore 2015 Conference and Exhibition
PublisherSoc. for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering
ISBN (Electronic)9781934551196
StatePublished - 2015
EventSAMPE Baltimore 2015 Conference and Exhibition - Baltimore, United States
Duration: May 18 2015May 21 2015

Publication series

NameInternational SAMPE Technical Conference


ConferenceSAMPE Baltimore 2015 Conference and Exhibition
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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