Ink-jet Printed Low-temperature Sinterable Nanometal Suspensions as a Binding Solution in Rapid Prototyping

The state of the art metal rapid prototyping utilizes ink-jet printed binder to selectively bind thin, cross-sectional layers of fine metal powder to produce complex parts directly from computer aided design models.  The binder needs curing and the procedure is time/energy consuming.  As an example, gold binder curing typically needs 1 hour dwell at 170°C.  Furthermore, cured binder may contaminate the sintering chamber and/or specimens during the next processing stage.  Our invention utilizes ink-jet printable nanometal suspensions for the binding function.  Clean burnout organics are used to prepare ink-jet printable suspensions.  The organics burn out either after each printing step (drying stage) or after the whole part printing and the same type of metal nanoparticles left to bond the metal powder particles together via a low-temperature sintering mechanism.  The new approaches simplify the process with significantly less organic contamination and thus enhance part quality.
Patent Information:
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Patent Status
US Continuation *United States 14/025,343 9/12/2013   Prosecuting
For Information, Contact:
Mike Miller
Senior Licensing Manager
Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc.
(540) 443-9228
Guofeng (john) Bai
Kevin Creehan
Mechanical & Manufacturing