Multifunctional Composites Using Additive Manufacturing

Giovanni Nino, Tyler Blumenthal

SAMPE 2013 – Long Beach CA


Novel multifunctional composite structures have the capability to reduce weight and volume as well as costs of “conventional” structural components by performing additional engineering functions beside the function of load carrying. These functions can be performed simultaneously or sequentially in time and seek to achieve overall system-level performance enhancement through a reduction of redundancy between subsystem materials and functions.  Thanks to the advance of additive manufacturing capabilities, there are new opportunities to increase functionality of composites structures while lowering manufacture, operation and maintenance costs. Under this approach, printed active and passive elements can be highly integrated onto structures such as interconnects, electrodes, heaters, sensors, transducers or antennas within current fabrication processes. In addition, the additive manufactured devices can be deposited on flexible films such as polyimide or Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and are able to be used as embedded or bonded systems if desired.