Nanomaterials-based 3d printer filament electrical characterization
Measured materials properties of chemically modified and control PLA (polylactic acid) FDM (fused deposition modeling) filaments, including volume resistivity for conductive filament, and relative permittivity (dielectric constant) for a first prototype filament material for additive manufacturing.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nanomaterials-based 3d printer filament electrical characterization
Nanomaterials-based 3d Printer Filament Electrical Characterization
Scott Merry, firstname.lastname@example.org
Functionalize, Inc., Seattle, WA 98103
In the Fused Deposition Modeling™ (FDM) method
of 3d printing, polylactic acid (PLA) plastic filament is
melted and squeezed out of the printer’s nozzle as it
lays down one layer at a time of a 3d model
designed using specialized software (Figure 1).
Researchers are synthesizing nanomaterials-based
PLA filaments with novel behaviors. Two properties
of interest are electrical resistance and capacitance.
These are characterized using:
Volume Resistivity (ρ, units Ω-cm):
• Low values indicate more conductive material
ρ = RA / l
R is resistance measured over length of filament l
A is cross-sectional area of filament
Relative permittivity (εr, unitless):
• High values indicate better dielectric material
εr = Cd / 8.85 x 10-12
C is capacitance measured across depth d of
printed flat plate of material
A is area of the rectangle
8.85 x 10-12
is the permittivity of air
F-Electric™ can be used for 3d printing of entire
electronic circuits, using this material where wire or
conductive traces would normally be used, with
unmodified PLA as the structure on which to build.
With some improvement, the dielectric filament may
be a candidate for use as electromagnetic
interference shielding, a capacitive touch button, or
in combination with conductive filament as a 3d-
While F-Electric™ is already in use worldwide,
researchers are fine-tuning the chemical synthesis of
the dielectric prototype to further increase relative
Michael Toutonghi, CEO, Functionalize, Inc.
Peter Kazarinoff, Alissa Agnello, Kristine Schroeder,
North Seattle College/SHINE
Chris Sanders, North Seattle College/Electronics
Boylestad, R. (2007). Introductory circuit analysis (11th
ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
ud Din Khan et al, “Permittivity and Electromagnetic
Interference Shielding Investigations of Activated Charcoal
Loaded Acrylic Coating Compositions,” Journal of
Polymers, vol. 2014, Article ID 193058, 7 pages, 2014.
Each filament measured the industry standard of
1.75 mm diameter.
Plain, Makerbot™-branded PLA filament was chosen
as a control in comparison to Functionalize™ F-
Electric™ for volume resistivity, and to a prototype
material for relative permittivity.
Resistance was measured over a 1 m length of
filament taken directly from the reel.
For relative permittivity, plate capacitors (Figure 2)
were constructed of 3d printed 0.4 mm thick
rectangles of plastic sandwiched between aluminum
foil. Capacitance was measured with a portable
Volume Resistivity in the F-Electric™ material was
Relative Permittivity in the prototype material was
Figure 2. Plate capacitor
a. 3d printing design software b. 3d printer. Photo courtesy Lisa Eisner
e. 3d printed materials. Photo
courtesy Functionalize, Inc.
c. 3d printer in action, and d. closeup of filament being
extruded from nozzle.
Figure 1. 3d printing