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Livermore Lab Introduces New Additive Manufacturing Technique

Posted on: 04/14/2014
Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have created a new additive manufacturing technique, based on electrophoretic deposition (EPD)—a process used for decades to apply the primer coat to new car bodies on the assembly line.

The LLNL technique, called light-directed EPD, uses hotoconductive electrodes and DC electrical fields to dynamically pattern the surface material. This allows the buildup of material in targeted areas where the light comes in contact with the photoconductor's surface. This enables the creation of arbitrarily patterned 3D multimaterial composites over large areas with fine resolution.

According to the research team, light-directed EPD has the potential to elevate traditional EPD from a single layer, single material coating process to a true additive manufacturing technique that allows for unique composites to be formed. Potential examples include precisely creating void areas in a part to control polymer material behaviors for energy absorption or within cellular material for the creation of veins or blood vessels for manufactured organs.

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