Materials for additive manufacturing processes

Research topic

Additive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing are highly suitable for prototyping, but are also gaining in importance in series production. We develop novel polymeric materials for additive manufacturing. Our focus is thereby directed towards UV-curing and thermoplastic processes as well as the utilization of wood and other bio-based raw materials. In addition, we develop innovative additive manufacturing processes which extend the application range of renewable raw materials. Our services are aimed at material developers, manufacturers of 3D printers, and users within the construction, automotive, transportation and electronics industries.

Cupboard-like, black device with the door open. Inside, at the base, there is a flat, transparent container with a brownish milky liquid. A silver-colored box, the so-called platform, hangs some distance above it.
© Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau
Bio-based polymer resin in a stereolithography 3D printer.

UV-curing processes (SLA, DLP and MJM)

Within the field of UV-curing processes, we develop new polymer resins with bio-based building blocks which cannot be produced through petrochemical means. In this way, we are expanding the material variety and the possibilities for the additive manufacture of sustainable components. Furthermore, we specifically exploit the advantageous properties of bio-polymers. These enable the realization of UV-curing printing materials which exhibit improved properties compared to conventional materials. They can be utilized for UV-curing processes such as stereolithography (SLA), digital light processing (DLP), and multi-jet modeling (MJM).

Fused Filament Fabrication (3D printing / FFF)

For the 3D printing process “Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)”, we develop bio-compounds for the production of filaments. For this purpose, we synthesize and characterize thermoplastic bioplastics (on the basis of sugar, starch, and vegetable oil, amongst others) and combine them with lignocelluloses. Depending on the purpose of the application, we add bio-based additives in order to achieve desired functionalities such as flame retardancy or heat-deformation resistance. We verify and optimize the processing properties for filament extrusion and fused filament fabrication (“3D printing”).  


Innovative processes

Additive manufacturing offers diverse advantages. For certain applications, however, the suitable process still needs to be found. We develop new processes, such as “Individual Layer Fabrication (ILF)”, with which wooden components can be “printed” in a material-sparing and time-saving manner.  


Pilot production

In our technical center, we process all newly developed materials for additive manufacturing into material samples and test them regarding the desired properties. In collaboration with our customers, we develop technical and ecological advantages over conventional starting materials.