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High resolution printing of interlaminar reinforcement with AGM’s Structural Ink

News International-French

25 Oct 2019

Latest testing has demonstrated significant uplifts in composite fracture toughness levels across a range of commercial prepreg systems that are commonly specified for Industrial and high-performance Sports applications.

To support this programme, AGM recently expanded their in-house Structural Ink® printing capability, extending print bed coverage

AGM’s Structural Ink is an exciting new technology that enables the targeted uplift of interlaminar toughness in composite components by means of the high-resolution printing of graphene enhanced “structural” inks. The technology offers the ability to deploy graphene with high precision, specifically reinforcing the regions of a composite structure that are most prone to interlaminar matrix failure over service life. Combining this capability with negligible overall weight penalty, provides end-users with the potential for a highly weight, cost and design efficient additive toughening technology.

Following the conclusion of a NATEP project (UK NATIONAL AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMME) which demonstrated the initial feasibility of Structural Ink, AGM has embarked on an ambitious programme, working with selected industry partners, to increase the technology readiness level. AGM and its partners looked not only to optimise the graphene material properties but, in parallel, to prove-out a robust and scalable printing technology that could underpin wider exploitation along the entire composites supply chain.

At the conclusion of the latest round of prove-out work, Structural Ink demonstrated significant and repeatable uplifts in G1C fracture toughness over a broad spectrum of commonly used epoxy prepreg systems, with deposition loadings typical at or well below 1g per m2.

Typical performance gains in fracture toughness are demonstrated below:

Typical performance gains in fracture toughness

AGM now plans to progress Structural Ink technology along two business development streams. Firstly, based on the latest prove-out trials and direct customer feedback, some early commercial applications are anticipated over the coming months. In parallel AGM will be further developing the technology with ambitious and global composites businesses, optimising ink formulations to specific customer requirements and adapting the baseline printing technology to meet higher volume production requirements.

AGM has patents pending based on the both the graphene materials technology and the printing processes associated with Structural ink.