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Zhou Kun

Nanyang Technological University

Selective Laser Sintering of Polymeric Nanocomposites for Functional Applications

Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a powder-based additive manufacturing (AM) process and has been increasingly considered for end-use applications in aerospace, automotive, medical and many other sectors. However, one of the most widely acknowledged stumbling blocks of SLS technology is the very limited range of materials that can currently be processed. The steps towards broad adoption of this technology has necessitated increasing research into the development of alternative materials with new and improved properties. Polymeric nanocomposites are emerging advanced materials and have generated great interest due to significantly enhanced physical, mechanical, electrical, thermal and electromagnetic properties at low filler contents. This talk will introduce the development of carbon nanotubes (CNTs)-reinforced polymeric nanocomposite powders through a novel surfactant-facilitated latex method, which is able to effectively and uniformly coat CNTs onto various polymer-based powders without sacrificing the processability for SLS. The most commonly used thermoplastic polyamide 12 (PA12) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) elastomer were selected as fundamental polymer-based materials for composite preparation. The SLS process optimization for the developed nanocomposites was conducted through theoretical and experimental approaches to print composite parts that show superior thermal, electrical and mechanical performances over commercially available congeneric products printed by SLS. The process-structure-property relationships and the underlying mechanisms of thermal, electrical and mechanical enhancements were further investigated. To explore the end-use application of laser-sintered composite materials, lightweight structures such as 3D auxetic and cellular lattices were designed and manufactured to validate their energy absorption and dissipation applications.


Dr. Zhou is an Associate Professor at the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is Director of Marine & Offshore Programme at Singapore Centre for 3D Printing. His research interests focus on additive manufacturing and novel computational methods for modeling material behavior. So far, he has published 17 book chapters and over 200 articles in international journals. He is an Editor of Journal of Micromechanics and Molecular Physics, an Associate Editor of Mechanics Research Communications, and an Editorial Board Member of Virtual and Physical Prototyping and a few other international journals.


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