AIMPLAS coordinates the project FA ELECTRIC that it is developing together with ITE and that will result in the development of new materials with electric properties to be used in additive manufacturing and 3D printing.
FA ELECTRIC will reduce to just the manufacture of pieces with sensors, which will improve their design and increase their implementation in order to make it possible their integration in sectors such as toys, sports shoes, medical and electrical-electronic.
Additive manufacturing is becoming a real alternative to conventional machining and transformation processes due to its numerous advantages: faster time to market, speed the process, customization of parts with complete flexibility in design and manufacture, and savings in materials and tools (moulds or dies).
The aim of the project FA ELECTRIC is to take advantages of additive manufacturing to create, in just one step, pieces with sensors that generate an electrical signal in response to mechanical pressure. Sensors and the piece will be manufactured at the same time, instead of being integrated subsequently. Moreover, steps for the manufacture of the sensor will be reduced from six to just one and it will be all made by the same equipment.
This will lead to a high versatility in applications and an improvement in the design of the pieces, providing sectors, such as toys, sports shoes, medical and electrical-electronic, with new solutions.
To achieve it, the two centers of REDIT are carrying out an innovative additive manufacturing strategy combining three fundamental factors:
1- Development and use of materials with electrical (conductivity) and mechanical properties (flexibility).
2- Electrical activation of insulating materials in order to provide piezoelectricity to them on the basis of the same principle used for polymeric foam.
3- Integrated manufacture of the complex in just one step by the additive manufacture using the design of a modified 3D printer through which it will be possible to manufacture by using the new materials developed and to activate electrically the parts of the pieces that you want to provide with properties so as to make them work as sensors.
The electric charge generated by applying pressure on the surface can be used to produce light, sound or energy.
In the current phase of the project, foam materials have been electrically activated and implemented in order to analyze their performance when used as piezoelectric sensors. Moreover, they have been developed conventional plastic materials, manufactured by 3D printing, that have also been activated electrically and characterized to analyze their performance. At the same time, suitable 3D printing technology and the process of electric activation that will be developed are both being analyzed.
This project is funded by IVACE and ERDF.