DEVELOPMENT OF POLYAMIDE COMPOSITES UTILISING FUSED DEPOSITION MODELLING (FDM)
Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is one of the most widely used 3D printing techniques employed over the last few years in engineering and medical fields. This technology has enabled product customisation for small-scale production, with polymers still being the most widely used materials in the FDM process, especially acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). However, the application of FDM to produce parts and components is limited due to exhibiting lower mechanical properties as compared to other conventional means. Apart of that, the issue related with biocompatibility is one of the most important things that need to be considered when utilising the technology for biomedical application. The conventional FDM material such as ABS, is associated with toxicity due to to the styrene content in its chemical structure, which is anticipated to cause cancer in humans. Although no evidence has been established to prove that ABS is a toxic substance, it is well known this material has not satisfying the medical device biocompatibility requirements.
In this context, traditional pure material feedstocks are no longer satisfy all the requirements for the biomedical application and thereby, there is a real need for an improved material such as by making a polymer composite by using a suitable type of biocompatible polymer, while at the same time exhibits outstanding performance in mechanical properties. In this project, polyamide 12 incorporated with bioceramic fillers was utilised to improve the mechanical properties in respect with conventional pure polyamide. The outcomes for the present study show the feasibility of development of new polyamide 12 composites for biomedical application. Incorporation small amount of fillers between 10-30 wt% in the PA12 matrix resulted in either an improvement or a maintenance of the mechanical properties, especially those related to the strength and modulus.
Schematic diagram of 3D printing process starts from designing, setting the parameters, slicing to G-code and printing.
A representative of tensile specimen after printing process
Rahim, T. N. A. T., Abdullah, A. M., Akil, H., Mohamad, D., & Rajion, Z. A. (2017). The improvement of mechanical and thermal properties of polyamide 12 3D printed parts by fused deposition modelling. Express Polymer Letters 11, 963–982.
Tuan Rahim, T. N. A., Abdullah, A. M., Akil, H., Mohamad, D., & Rajion, Z. A. (2015). Preparation and characterization  Tuan Rahim T.N.A., Abdullah A.M., Akil H., Mohamad D. and Rajion Z.A. : Preparation and characterization of a newly developed polyamide composite utilising an affordable 3D printer. Journal of Reinforced Plastics & Com. Journal of Reinforced Plastics & Composites 34, 1628–1638.